PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Thousands of Rhode Islanders rely on community food banks, and Saturday marked the 30th year that the Boy Scouts have drummed up donations as part of their annual “Scouting for Food” campaign.
Boy Scouts fanned out around the state last weekend hanging reminders on mailboxes and doorknobs, asking residents to leave donations to be picked up today and delivered to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank in Providence.
Jonas Kendra was one of the Boy Scouts participating; he’s six months away from making Eagle Scout and was taking part in his last food drive.
“When you’ve been doing it for a while you start to get used to it and you realize what a good thing it is for the community here,” he said.
RI Community Food Bank CEO Andrew Schiff said that Scouting for Food is their largest and most important annual food drive and expected this year’s event to generate 200,000 pounds of food, which will then be distributed to about 150 food pantries and meal programs around the state.
“What we see is lots of people who are working, but they’re working at jobs that don’t pay high wages,” he said.
Eyewitness News crews helped sort donations, including anchor Mike Montecalvo, who has been involved with the program for most of its history.
“When I got involved 25 years ago it was something that was supposed to be short-term,” he said. “They decided to try to do this to restock the shelves. I don’t think that it was in anybody’s wildest dreams that it would go 30 years, but it goes to show the real need for food.”
Some of the scouts on-hand Saturday morning were there with their fathers, who had participated in the drive when they were scouts, and several of the scouts said they hoped that they’d be able to carry on that tradition in the future.
“I sure hope it’ll still be around, and that it’ll keep helping people for years to come,” Kendra said.
If you missed out on the drive, you can drop off donations any time at the RI Community Food Bank on Niantic Avenue in Providence.