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Boy Scouts set to kick-off 'Scouting for Food' food-drive as need soars

Some families are facing the choice between paying the rent or buying groceries.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Boy Scouts of America is kicking-off their annual ‘Scouting for Food’ campaign this month.

On Jan. 30, Boy Scouts went door-to-door hanging door tags, announcing the start of their food-drive in eight counties including Mecklenburg, York, Lancaster, Anson, Union, Cabarrus, Rowan and Stanly.

The ‘Scouting for Food’ campaign asks people to donate non-perishable food items in an effort to refill empty pantry shelves in Mecklenburg and surrounding counties to make sure no one goes hungry.

“We are thrilled to be conducting our largest ever food drive that we do annually with the Mecklenburg County Council for Boy Scouts,” Tina Postel, executive director for Loaves & Fishes food pantry in Mecklenburg County, said.

RELATED: WCNC Charlotte partners with area Boy Scouts for Scouting For Food

“They go out and in one weekend, typically raise nearly a quarter of a million pounds of food for us if you can believe that,” Postel said.

Postel said all food donated in Mecklenburg County will be brought to the Loaves & Fishes food pantry, where it’s organized and boxed up with the addition of fresh produce and dairy and then given out to Mecklenburg County residents.

“Our goal at Loaves & Fishes is not just to feed people but to feed them well, so every box of food contains a nutritionally balanced amount of food from all 5 food groups, so they’re going to get things like canned, meat, canned grains, fruits, vegetables, and thanks to the Farm to Family food box program, they also get fresh dairy and fresh produce from farms around the area,” said Postel.

But she said keeping up right now is a challenge.

“I’ll tell you, our need is greater than ever, so we are really hoping for a home-run this year for Scouting for Food because there are so many more mouths to feed this year because of the lingering economic impact of the pandemic,” she said.

In 2019, Loaves & Fishes said they fed more than 80,000 people. In 2020, they say that number rose to more than 120,000, with 2021 on pace to grow higher. Postel said they’re currently feeding around 2,000 people every week.

“On a daily basis, there are still families who call us that have burned through all of their savings and are now faced with some tough choices, 'Do I pay the rent this month or do I buy groceries for my family?'” Postel explained.   

Veronica Bost said she is in that boat and recently visited a Loaves & Fishes mobile food pantry in Uptown, saying without Loaves & Fishes, her refrigerator this week would have been left empty.

“It would probably be almost empty because I would probably have some water in there,” Bost said. “It’s just wonderful, wonderful to be able to get food for me and my grandbabies.”

RELATED: Scouting For Food drive collects thousands of donations for Loaves and Fishes

Interested in participating but wondering what items you should buy? Postel said with so many children out of school and home, high priority items include kid-friendly foods.

“Things that kids can pop in a microwave, so canned pasta, canned fruit, canned meat, cereal, are always high priority need items,” she said.

Those interested in participating should place your donated food items in a bag on your front porch, Saturday, Feb. 6 to be collected by Boy Scouts.

If you live in Mecklenburg County and didn’t get a flyer on your door, a contactless donation drive hosted by Loaves & Fishes will be held Sat, Feb. 6 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Harris Teeter parking lot at the Arboretum Shopping Center, 3333 Pineville-Matthews Road, Charlotte, NC 28226. 

You can also stop by the live collection sites:

  • Ada Jenkins Center – 212 Gamble St., Davidson
  • Arboretum Shopping Center – Providence Rd. & Highway 51 (across from the Harris Teeter), Charlotte
  • Huntersville United Methodist Church – 14005 Stumptown Rd., Huntersville
  • Philadelphia Presbyterian Church – 11501 Bain School Rd., Mint Hill
  • Sharon Presbyterian Church – 5201 Sharon Rd., Charlotte
  • South Mecklenburg Presbyterian – 8601 Bryant Farms Rd, Charlotte
  • Steele Creek Athletic Association – 13530 Choate Circle, Charlotte
  • Town Center Plaza – 8600 University City Blvd., Charlotte
  • Trinity Presbyterian Church – 3115 Providence Rd., Charlotte

Or if you’d prefer, you can donate online at loavesandfishes.org or text SCOUT4FOOD to 44321