CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The annual Scouting For Food drive collected thousands of pounds of food to help feed needy families in Mecklenburg County. 

The drive started at 9 a.m. across Mecklenburg Coutny as more than 5,000 Scouts went door-to-door collecting bags of food.

WCNC Charlotte staff were on hand at the Arboretum Harris Teeter as Scouts dropped off donations that will go to Loaves and Fishes food pantries across the community. 

Those donations were in addition to 20,000 pounds of food donated by WCNC Charlotte and the TEGNA Foundation and Campbell's on behalf of Harris Teeter. 

Loaves and Fishes say that 1 in 5 kids in Mecklenburg County are at risk of going to bed hungry. The Scouting For Food drive is critical to their operation, as it collects nearly a third of all food donations in a single year. Last year's drive collected over 250,000 pounds of food. 

If you did not receive a bag but would like to help, you can text SCOUT4FOOD to 44321 and make a monetary donation. Your donations are used to buy healthy, nutritious foods that include fresh meat, vegetables and dairy products for families who are in crisis. Just $1 can buy four pounds of food, while a $25 donation can buy enough groceries to provide 119 meals. 

ONLINE:  Visit the Loaves & Fishes website to make a financial donation.  click here

TEXT:  To make a financial donation text Scout4Food to 44321 on your mobile phone.

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Roughly 40 million Americans are food insecure, meaning they can't always afford food.  North Carolina ranks in the top 10 for the nation’s hungriest states.

To help combat the need for food, Loaves & Fishes has 37 food pantries throughout Mecklenburg County.