Scouting For Food Fact Sheet
Started in 1985 by the Greater St. Louis Area Council, Scouting For Food has grown to become the largest single-day food drive in the Boy Scouts of America. Over the program’s 32-year history, Scouts throughout the Greater St. Louis Area Council, which includes St. Louis city and 51 counties throughout eastern Missouri and southern Illinois, have collected more than 55 million items of food.
How It Works
The campaign is launched on “Bag Distribution Day” when Scouts distribute 1 million plastic bags to area neighborhoods. The Scouts return to residences one week later, “Bag Collection Day,” to retrieve the bags filled with donated non-perishable food items. Collection day is accomplished through the help of approximately 30,000 Scouts, parents, and volunteers and about 2 million items of food are collected each year.
In the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County, the items are boxed and sent to the St. Louis Area Foodbank for distribution. Outside of the city and county, the donated items are taken directly to food pantries.
Within 48 hours of the Scouts’ collection, donations are on pantry shelves ready to feed the hungry.
What kind of food donations are needed? Read our suggestions on the “Perfect Bag.”
MERS Missouri Goodwill Industries is the 2017 Scouting For Food sponsor. Goodwill’s mission is changing lives through the power of work. Veterans, single parents, people trying to re-enter the workforce after an injury, and people who have been unemployed receive help from various programs that Goodwill creates or partners with, such as Scouting For Food.
Sunset Transportation, of Sunset Hills, Mo., provides trucks, equipment and volunteer drivers and coordinates all logistics for the food collection, which involves transporting boxed food from more than 40 area fire stations to the St. Louis Area Food Bank. Sunset Transportation began helping in 2004 when the 892nd Transportation Company U.S. Army Reserves were called to active duty and deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Prior to 2004, the U.S. Army Reserve unit provided tractor trailer units and volunteers to transport donated canned goods.
Fire Chiefs Association gives access to nearly 40 area fire stations for sorting, packaging and storing donations throughout bag collection day.
Food donations are distributed through a network of more than 500 area food pantries. Each year, Scouting For Food provides over 550,000 meals for those in need.