The need to feed: The Scouting for Food program will help pack pantries to help ‘working poor’

The Scouts of America Osceola District will place door hangers throughout Osceola County on Saturday, Nov. 2. The following Saturday, Nov. 9, the Scouts will pick up food left on people’s doorsteps and patios.

It’s that time of year when some families around us may not have enough food for the holidays.

That’s where Scouting for Food comes in. This nationwide service project is run by the Scouts of America and last year the Osceola District brought in more than 32,000 pounds of food.

“All food collected stays right here in our own county and goes toward the 48 percent of ‘working poor’ in Osceola where one in five children go to bed hungry every day,” said Christina Karandreas, co-chair of the Webelos Woods committee. “Our Scouting units are giving back to their community by helping to collect, sort and restock the shelves of our local food pantries to benefit their community.”

The Scouts will place door hangers and/or bags (provided with the help of AdventHealth) throughout Osceola County on Saturday, Nov. 2. The following Saturday, Nov. 9, the Scouts will pick up food left on people’s doorsteps and patios.

This endeavor benefits five local food pantries – St. Cloud Food Pantry, Osceola Council on Aging, a small church pantry in Holopaw, Good Samaritan Villages’ food pantry and a small church food pantry in the Four Corners area.

Good Samaritan Kissimmee Village’s food pantry sees 30 to 50 visitors each month.

“It gives our residents food to hold them over until they get their checks,” said volunteer Carol Nordstrom.

Judy’s Pantry has been serving the retirement village for 25 years and provides residents with non perishable items.

“It helps immensely,” she said.

On average, more than 700 local Scouts participate in Scouting for Food between both Saturdays as well as adult volunteers and parents.

“It is part of our Scout oath, Scout law, and Scouts do a good turn daily,” said Karandreas.

The Osceola district has 53 units including a Cub Scout Packs and young men and women between kindergarten and fifth grade. There are also Venture Crew Units co-ed from 14 to 20 years old, male Scout troops between the ages of 11 and 18, and female Scout troops between the ages

of 11 and 18 who participate in this food drive. The participating units equals a 95 percent participation ratio.

“Anyone can participate. We do the best we can to hit every house,” said Arthur Polnasek, who represents the west side of Osceola County. “It’s a little something we can do to help these families. All the food collected stays in Osceola County.”

Scouting for Food originated from an Eagle Project in Illinois and was adopted as a good turn initiative at the national level in 1985. The Scouting units in Osceola district and Central Florida Council have been participating in Scouting for Food since the initiative’s inception.

The Scouts are asking that all donated items be non-perishable, especially food that may help families have a better Thanksgiving meal. Polnasek said those items could include corn, green beans, instant mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese and yams.

Karandreas said gated communities could still donate by dropping items off at the pantries directly. Be sure to check expiration dates and make sure the boxed goods do not appear to be opened or resealed.