What is Scouting for Food?

Scouting-101-logoAs Scouts, we know how fortunate we are to have a warm meal every night — whether around the campfire or at the kitchen table. And we know that not everyone is so lucky.

That’s the genesis of Scouting for Food, the annual food-collection drive run by your local council. It’s another reminder to our local communities that Scouts are here, doing good turns.

Your local council sets the date of Scouting for Food. In some councils, it’s in November or December. Others hold their drives in January, February or March. Check your council website to see when your council holds its drive.

Scouting for Food takes place on two consecutive weekends. On the first weekend, Scouts distribute bags and/or door hangers to let their neighbors know about the drive. On the second, Scouts revisit those houses to pick up bags full of canned food, cereal, pasta, peanut butter, juice and other nonperishable items.

The food is delivered to needy families all throughout the council’s borders.

In the past I have shared tips for improving your Scouting for Food effort. Today, I want to help you spread the word about Scouting for Food. 

Social media images

Use these on Facebook or Twitter to help spread the word that a Scouting for Food drive is coming to your community.







“Thank you” fliers

To help thank those who give to Scouting for Food, the BSA has produced these customizable fliers:



  1. Our council (Three Harbors, Milwaukee area) does this each March. We have been doing it for so long that troops and packs generally are assigned the same areas each year.

  2. Northern Lights Council has, if memory serves, been doing this for more than 22 years. They were doing it when I was a Webelos den leader. We usually have an area around our chartered partner. Since the Council also includes counties in Minnesota, and Minnesota has Minnesota Food Share in March, the Districts along the border do the collection in March. I’m not sure how the process works, but Minnesota participates financially in the food drive. I suspect the collection takes place when it does to replenish food banks after a period of slower contributions. The letter carriers have a food drive in April or May.

    A local bank supplies bags to consolidate donations when the Scouts go door-to-door. I’m not sure if we are violating the Guide to Safe Scouting, but our Scouts pull four wheel wagons (Radio Flyer, et. al.). Lets them travel farther before they need to offload into a vehicle.

    A local grocery chain allows the trucks that collect from units to use its parking lot.

  3. Scouting for Food was started in the Greater St. Louis Area Council in 1985. They got the idea from my brother’s (Chris DuBois) Eagle project in 1981 in which he passed out fliers one week and collected the next week.

    • Don Schmidt. Glad to see another NLC volunteer chime in! I am in one of the minnesota Units, and We will be collecting on March 19th. There is a 5K event, and a Polar Plunge Event on the same day and we are partnering with both to have drop off locations, and have promotional opportunities with both events.

  4. Don’t forget to talk to the local businesses. We have entered a relationship with our troop and a local manufacturer that we receive all of the imperfect cans from their canning process. This has lead to 21,000 lbs of food going into the local soup kitchens, half way houses, and shelters this year. They did not have the internal infrastructure there to manage the distribution and have loved working with the scouts in getting this food to good use.

  5. I’ve been heavily involved in scouting for almost 11 years and my council and district have never said a word about this wonderful program. We’ve done it as an individual unit project though.

  6. Troop 149 in Falcon, CO combines with the packs out where we live, so we can collect more food during Scouting For Food. We typically put a paper bag w/ a flyer on the front porch the week before we go around collecting the food to donate to the local food bank. By doing this we collect over 5.5 tons of food,

    • Matt – Do you have a high resolution (original) of the logo for Scouting for Food? We have been trying to find one so that we can make yard signs from it to publicize the event. Many thanks.

  7. We are such a small pack. The first year I took over as Cub Master, I knew I had to implement this wonderful program. Our chartered church has a free meal once a month to those in need in our community and the food will go to use for this program and the food pantry at the church. We call the meeting to be a two hour meeting and walk door to door to collect. We have wagons and shopping bags for the Scouts to use. We also have an SUV following us to offload the food, always using buddy system and parents together. It seems very simple but we collect a lot. I don’t weigh it so I cannot tell you how much but our church is very appreciative of it. I wish I had help with proper bags and such from council but I don’t think they sponsor this event as I never heard any promotion for it. Thank God for the internet as this is how I discovered it.

  8. The Church who holds are charter has a shopping cart in the lobby. Every Pack meeting is Scouting for Food. Our boys roll the grocery cart in at the beginning of the meeting and roll it back out at the end. The Church delivers the food to the local food cupboards. Pack 8 is Gr8!

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