Scouting for Food — Boy Scouts’ good deeds restock Salvation Army larder

Linda Saholt

News Review Correspondent

Scouting for Food — Boy Scouts’ good deeds restock Salvation Army larderAn estimated 50 Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts, representing every Boy Scout unit in the Indian Wells Valley, turned out to help collect donated food items on Feb. 2. Their goal for this annual event was to restock the Salvation Army’s Food Pantry shelves after a very busy holiday season.

As the Scouts brought their haul in, the room became a veritable sea of cans and packages.

Ridgecrest residents poured out their generosity in the one-day event, for a total of 6,450 pounds of nonperishable food items collected in Ridgecrest alone.

The Scouts not only collected the donated items but also unloaded them at the Salvation Army, sorted them and then packed like items into labeled cardboard boxes for storage until needed. They gathered together all the leftover plastic bags and spare cardboard into big bags to be recycled.

And when they were done, they cleaned up the area.

Accompanied by leaders, parents and volunteers, the boys worked quickly and efficiently, completing the entire job by midafternoon.

Jerry Smith, chairman of the Desert District of the Boy Scouts of America, was the event’s organizer.

“I can’t remember how many years we’ve been doing this in Ridgecrest,” said Smith. “This is something we do to help the community. The Scouts in general have been holding food drives since World War I.

“Even though we collected today, people can bring in donations to the Salvation Army any time.”

Cub Scouts, ages seven and older, manned donation stations in the three large markets, so patrons could drop off an extra item or two on the way out. Older Scouts collected throughout the neighborhoods.

Smith was also in charge of the drive in the California City and Kern Valley areas. He said 775 pounds of food were collected in Cal City. Kern Valley’s total was not yet announced. Last year’s total for all three areas came to a record 8,000 pounds. This year’s total is a bit less than that, but all of it is needed and much appreciated by the Salvation Army.

Envoy Charles Griffin said he was impressed by the Scouts’ work. “This is a great event and we look forward to it. We absolutely need it each year. Without the support of the Boy Scouts and the community, our food bank would run short of the need,”

He was a Cub Scout as a boy here in Ridgecrest and still sees his den mother around town. Today he is a proud grandfather who admires the work BSA does.

“This is a great opportunity for the young Scouts to give back to the community and learn the value of giving. It’s a great organization that partners with the Salvation Army and the community. We’re really thankful for the dedicated Scout leaders and Scoutmasters for all their extraordinary efforts in training our young adults to face life in their adventures. The leaders really put a lot of time into this event.”

The Salvation Army provided a pizza lunch for the Scouts and their leaders.

For more information about Scouting, see www.scouting.org.

Story First Published: 2013-02-06