Guest Post By Rebecca Novak Tibbitt
Did you get an empty grocery bag on your doorstep this weekend? You know, the one with a note stapled to it asking to be filled with food? Before you ignore it or use it to recycle yesterday’s Observer, take a minute to think about how it got there, and where it’s going.
A week or so before its journey to your doorstep, hundreds (thousands?) of boys and their parents at Boy Scout Troops and Cub Scout Packs in the Mecklenburg area got together for a “stapling” party to assemble the bags. Thousands and thousands of bags.
Then, last Saturday, the day after an ICE STORM hits our region, hundreds (thousands?) of boys and their parents, hit the pavement. Door to door, dropping off bags. One by one. Boys, who would have otherwise been told to stay inside on a freezing and icy January morning, were not only told to go outside, but encouraged to, for the sake of doing a “good turn.” You could practically see the character being built.
So, what’s next?
Here’s the super fun and easy part where you come in: fill the bag. Then, Saturday, February 2, put it outside by 9:00am. That’s it. The Cub Scout motto – one of my favorites – is “Do Your Best.” So try to put in some good stuff like canned meat and fruit if you can.
Get your kids involved by picking out items at the store or from your own pantry. Talk to them about why it’s important to help a friend or neighbor in need. And being thankful for what we have. The boys will be back to pick it up, and then spend the next several hours sorting, sorting and sorting some more, building character all the while. Then, that food, all of that glorious food, will go off to Loaves & Fishes and directly into the hands of people who need it.
Last year, “Scouting for Food” netted 255,000 pounds of food. That’s a seriously crazy amount of food. And, like the good Boy Scouts that they are, they want to beat that number this year. Loaves & Fishes is a pretty awesome organization that provides a week’s worth of nutritious groceries to families facing short-term financial crisis in Mecklenburg County at 19 food pantries in the area. Check out their website, and you might be surprised to see (like I was) that there’s a food pantry right around the corner from you.
And if you didn’t get a bag? You’re not off the hook. You can still donate at Harris Teeters and a number of other area drop-off locations. There’s a lot of Boy Scouts out there who could use a little more character. And even more of our neighbors who need a lifeline. For more information, visit www.loavesandfishes.org.