Boy Scouts move annual "Scouting for Food" event to a virtual drive

Published: Apr. 15, 2020 at 4:08 PM CDT
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The annual "Scouting for Food" event has been canceled this weekend, because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Bay-Lakes Council, however, has come up with a different way to help local food pantries.

"Scouting for Food" is a favorite among the Boy Scouts. According to Eli Skyrpczak from Troop 73 Appleton, "It's fun to go around with your friends and just walk around and go to different houses and see how much food you collected."

It's also a big event for local food pantries, like the St. Joseph Food Program, which is currently serving about 400 families a week, providing them with close to 55 pounds of food a visit.

"The Scouting for Food drive is one of the two biggest drives that we have, historically, during the year so it's always been a great support of the program here," says Monica Clare, executive director of the St. Joseph Food Program.

When the coronavirus forced the Boy Scouts to postpone the annual spring food drive until fall, members of Troop 73 in Appleton, who collect on average about 13,000 pounds a food a year for St. Joseph's, still wanted to make sure pantries didn't go without donations.

"Every week, in our meeting, we recite the Scout Oath and part of the Scout Oath is to help other people at all times so we were looking for ways to still be able to help people during this time, so we came up with the virtual food drive," says Boy Scout Max Harvick.

So, instead of going door-to-door to collect food, to stock the shelves at pantries like the St. Joseph Food Program, the entire bay-lakes council is asking for online donations.

According to Scoutmaster Dan Skyrpczak, "People can go out to the Bay-Lakes Council website to the Scouting for Food Page and there's a list of food pantries throughout Northeast Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. And, they can go out and click on links we've included there and donate directly monetarily to those food banks."

The pantries in turn will buy the food they need to make sure they can continue to serve their clients as they expect the need to grow as the coronavirus crisis continues.

Monica Clare adds, "Once people's emergency funds kind of run out, it's going to be a long last recovery and that's where we're really going to see the need for a lot of food."