AURORA — Scouting for Food in Aurora wrapped up another successful program thanks to the generosity of the community.
"This is the 15th year Boy Scout Troop 269 and Pack 3269 sponsored by Our Lady of Perpetual Help has organized Scouting for Food, with assistance from Troop 265, to benefit the food pantry at Volunteers of America, collecting about a ton of food," said Scouting for Food Chairman Gary Jancsurak.
"It's wonderful to see the boys make an effort to help those in our community who are less fortunate. Scouting for Food is a way for the Scouts to see an immediate impact of their efforts.
"I'm pleased and thankful the community supports the Scouts and the effort to provide needed resources to the VOA food pantry."
The effort was in conjunction with Food2Share’s fourth annual Fill a Bag, Feed a Family food collection in Aurora. Fill a Bag, Feed a Family organizer Bruce Harris said figures of food collected in the latter effort were still being tabulated earlier this week.
The Scouting for Food program started in 2004 as a door to door campaign, when the Scouts delivered bags to homes throughout the city of Aurora one weekend and picked up the groceries the following weekend.
The next year the Scouts added a retail component, soliciting donations from patrons at Walmart. They ask patrons to make a purchase and donate it to the pantry as they leave the store.
When Food2Share decided to organize a door-to-door campaign three years ago, Jancsurak and Harris met to develop a plan that would increase awareness of hunger in Aurora without the two groups competing.
So Food2Share carrbegan carrying out a door-to-door campaign and Scouting for Food continued to solicit donations from patrons at area stores. The result turned out to be the first time that the food pantry did not ration food over the summer.
The partnership continued this year with Scouting for Food taking place May 12 and Fill a Bag, Feed a Family picking up bags of food from residents.
"The Boy Scouts are key contributors to the success of this effort to raise awareness to the problem of hunger through Scouting for Food, and I thank them," said Mayor Ann Womer-Benjamin.
Scouting for Food not only collects food, but seeks donations of paper and hygiene products, including toilet paper, hand soap, laundry detergent, dish liquid, toothpaste and toothbrushes.
Becky Carolino, development director for Volunteers of America, thanked Jancsurak for organizing Scouting for Food for so many years, collecting tens of thousands of pounds of food and necessities the pantry doesn’t normally receive.
After Scouts from Troop 265, 269 and Pack 3269 collected donations at the stores, the boys and other volunteers delivered the donations to the Volunteers of America.
Donations are still being accepted for the food pantry. They can be dropped off at the Volunteers of America at Route 43 and Moneta Avenue.
The most needed items now are peanut butter, jelly, canned fruit, canned meat and stew, rice, macaroni and cheese, cereal, Hamburger/Tuna Helper, pancake mix and syrup and sloppy Joe mix.
One non-food item that is in great need at this time are disposable diapers for infants and toddlers.