Local Boy Scouts hope to collect 100,000 pounds of food today for food banks and pantries in a five-county area.
“It isn’t done by one doing a lot,” said David Mauch, district director of the Boy Scouts of America’s Tecumseh Council. “It’s done by a lot doing a little.”
Unfortunately, just as fast as the scouts can collect it, the Second Harvest Food Bank of Clark, Champaign and Logan Counties will give it away.
The food bank at 701 E. Columbia St. distributed 4.4 million pounds of food last year to the 90 soup kitchens, shelters and pantries it serves, regional director Keith Williamson said.
“It’s not just a seasonal need anymore,” Williamson said. “It’s year-round.”
For at least five years straight, according to Williamson, demand for food at Second Harvest has risen by about 20 percent every year.
“I’m hoping there’s an end in sight,” he said.
Since 2009, scouts from the Tecumseh Council — which covers Clark, Champaign, Logan, Greene and Clinton counties — have collected close to 302,000 pounds of food for pantries.
“This is the time when the need is great. We’re rolling into the spring with some empty shelves,” said Jeff Miller, food bank operations supervisor at Second Harvest.
The scouts believe their annual food drive is the biggest one-day drive in the area, said Jim Nolan, executive director of the council.
Food will be distributed to a number of locations, including Second Harvest, Enon Relief and Our Daily Bread in Urbana.
Last week, the council’s 3,900 Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts distributed plastic bags throughout area neighborhoods for nonperishable items, and will begin picking up bags placed outside front doors at 8:30 a.m. today.
“We’re hoping this project helps families who can’t afford food so they don’t starve,” said Tatum Shepherd, an 11-year-old Boy Scout from Xenia’s Troop 165.