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Improve your Scouting for Food drive with these 10 tips

Happily serving others is a fundamental part of the Boy Scouts of America.

And the Scouting for Food program, an annual drive to collect and distribute food to those in need, is a key element of Scouts’ service to their community.

Scouting for Food involves a simple, three-step process: (1) Distribute bags to houses, (2) Collect bags full of canned food and other nonperishable goods, and (3) Deliver the food to a local food bank or aid group.

Seems easy, right?

But even though the fundamentals of the program are simple, there’s still some finesse involved in making sure things run smoothly.

That’s why we polled our friends on Scouting magazine’s official Facebook page and our followers on Twitter to see if they had any suggestions.

All of the suggestions were great, but here are 10 of our favorites:

  1. “We are in a rural area, and we take extra trash bags and pick up any trash that we see in the neighborhood. The neighbors love that extra help.” (Micaela H.)
  2. “Our area is large and centered around the school, so we set our dens off with maps and highlighters so they can indicate what sides of the street got done and where they stopped. Then on pickup day, they know exactly what areas to re-canvas.” (Jon P.)
  3. “Our troop mans the collection point and serves hot chocolate and homemade doughnuts to the Cub Scouts. Great for recruiting and retention.” (@troop407)
  4. “Organization, organization, organization. Get as many kids as you can that way they are not out there as long and will be in better spirits.” (Darrick B.)
  5. “We send two or three Scouts to each door. Many people want to give one item to each Scout so instead of one item we get two or three.” (J.T. H.)
  6. “If your unit is big enough, set up shop at a local grocery store in addition to the door-to-door pickup!” (@ScoutingNews)
  7. “We include a nice letter in the bags explaining what we’re doing as well as leave a thank-you note when we pick up. And on the initial bag letter I always leave my contact information in case they miss the pickup and still want to donate.” (Jon P. again)
  8. “Where we are, there are only so many entrances to the neighborhoods. So we made up signs that we stick at the front of each area letting everyone know when we would be picking up bags.” (Jason M.)
  9. “Have each boy bring in food to their next meeting that they collect from friends and family.” (Patricia R.)
  10. Finally, the always-popular pie in the face: “You can set a goal, and if every den gets that goal, then they get to put a pie in their den leader’s face.” (Chris C.)

Thanks for your contributions!

What other tips can you add?

Leave a comment below with your pack or troop’s time-tested ideas.

6 Comments on Improve your Scouting for Food drive with these 10 tips

  1. Don’t forget Facebook! We live in a small community and this year we posted on Facebook on the local county buy, sell, trade page that we were dropping off notes on the doors (we tape a brightly colored note to the glass on the front door with info about the drive). We also put out a Facebook reminder when we were picking up food. We usually are under 500 items in our small town but this year we were well over 700!

  2. John DeCoursey // November 7, 2014 at 5:06 pm // Reply

    Make sure everyone that is picking up food know their unit number. I work at a food drop off area and have many parents drop food off and don’t know their unit #. We make every effort to give credit to the right unit.

  3. It is also very helpful if the Council doesn’t schedule a Cub Scout camporee the same day as you are supposed to put bags out

  4. Put up a “Thank You” sign after collecting from your neighborhoods.

  5. We as a pack visited the food shelf; we learned about their special projects (backpack meals), how people qualify and how many people they serve each week. It was eye opening for the boys and we had much more effort by the boys,and they were able to explain better the reasons for doing the food drive in their classes. If you are not doing it, consider it.

  6. We collect change to adopt a family and old coats and hats for needy kids this season. We do our scouting for food around Easter since everyone else in our area is doing it now.

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