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During Scouting Week 2011 our District (possibly Council) will be conducting a Scouting for Food event. I have been asked to manage this, and will do so.


I am asking for your input and suggestions for what makes a Scouting for Food event successful? My hope is that this will become an annual tradition (from what I understand, it has not been done in awhile) for our Council with all Units participating.


Our plan is to distribute the Saturday starting Scout Week and pick up the food the next Saturday.


I hope this is the right place to put this, and thank you for your help.

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Alas, this has fallen by the wayside around here. I think it needs to be revived and I like the time of year your district/council is doing it as February is a time of year when most donors have forgotten about the food banks, right after the holidays.


Get the local media involved. Are you a rural district or an urban district?


When I was in graduate school, I served in an urban district. They would hold a press conference with a large map of the city for a backdrop. Units would draw numbers and then in their numbered order choose the block of the city they would distribute bags in and this would be marked on the map (and on camera).


The media being there got the word out. People in those neighborhoods then knew this wasn't a hoax and when to expect the scouts to show-up with bags and when they'd return the following weekend.


Rural area? Again, get your local media involved, though it won't be as dramatic as the above urban example.

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As far as I am "aware" of it, this may be one of the easier things to head up.



In our coucil, the scout office/shop has the yellow door hangers. They will pass them out to CM's and Sm's at Roundtables or any othet council/distric meeting. Or we can go by the scout office and pick them up.


Pass them amongst your leaders a few weeks before they are to be distributed. Talk about it at te Pack/Troop meeting.


One thing we do, since our CO charters a Pack, a Troop and a Ship, is to get each unit head together to map out areas so we don't double trouble any residents.


Our Troop Sm and a handful of Boys collect any gathered food later in the afternoon of collection day at a community center.


To be honest, I do not know where it goes from there: SA, Food Kitchen, Red Cross?



First thing I would do is call the DE or SE and ask for some door hangers. All the info ,plus a handy dandy free Micky D's coupon is on it!

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I would imagine that the national office has the operational plans for this since so many councils have been doing it since it first started in '84 or '85. Our council has been doing it every year since then. You can contact me off line and I can give you the contact info for our council. WE are a 2 state council and food goes to a central food bank and several local community food banks. Some of them claim that we supply them with 25% of their annual canned food needs. Even if we wanted to stop doing the Scouting for Food program we couldn't, the communities expect us to do it and its a great tradition.

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Attend all Roundtables for a few months in advance to get the word out.

Have units sign up with a coordinator name/contact info.

Have info fliers, with your contact info, available at every Roundtable.

Put notices in your Council/District newsletters. Do this as far in advance, and for as many times as you can.

Put a notice on your Council/District Web site - early - with a link to your flier as a pdf file.

Advertise to the public in advance, and often. Local newspapers, radio, and TV spots. Many have will do free community notices.

Coordinate all registrations and assign each unit a separate area to cover.

Get volunteers to put together the collection packets for each unit.


We do our SFF in May in conjunction with the National Association of Letter Carriers. We have plastic grocery bags, and 5x4 mini fliers, printed with council and NALC logos. The mini fliers have info on the food drive (what, where, why, where to drop off food if it does not get picked up, etc), and are stapled to the bags. Units distribute the bags one weekend, and pick up the food the next Saturday. Letter Carriers also pick up food. All food is dropped off at the local Post Office, where, at the end of the day, it is sent to an area distribution center, and divided between all local food pantries.


This works nicely because the NALC and the local USPS, does much of the main organizational work. Scouts help with the foot, and grunt work, with volunteers also working at the collection, and distribution centers.

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In my area Scouting for Food efforts are headed by individual units, and don't really have much support at the district or council level, unfortunately. Here's a few things that I remember from when I was more directly involved:


- We had gotten a large number of plastic grocery bags donated, and then stapled a 1/2 sheet of paper to each bag that described what Scouting for Food was, and gave instructions to donate. We would then canvas our neighborhoods and hang the plastic bags from door handles. This way, when it was time to pickup the food, it was easy to see if a house had made a donation, and also helped protect the items from rain/snow. The bags were then stored at the food pantry to be used or recycled.


- Don't wait too long between when you distribute flyers/bags and when you pickup the food. In the past we've distributed on Saturday morning and collected on Sunday morning. Waiting a week might be too long, and people will be more likely to forget to put out a donation.


- Do a little bit of publicity. If there's any stores or businesses in your area that have a community bulletin board, put up some notices about the day you'll be collecting. If you can, also see if you can get something in your community's newspaper a few days prior to the collection. After the collection, try to run a short follow-up thanking everyone for participation, with a mention of how much food was collected.


- See if you can tie the event in with another larger community event to raise support (eg, town fair, school or sports events, etc) to help raise awareness and help people remember to donate. A year or two ago, a pack and troop in my area coordinated their Scouting for Food efforts with Tom's Shoes One Day Without Shoes (http://www.onedaywithoutshoes.com/splash.php) and also collected clothing items in addition to food. Also, in the spirit of the event, the Scouts went shoe-less when they were out collecting donations, which probably helped raise awareness for a couple causes, and also got them a nice featured article in the town newspaper.


Just some thoughts in general. I know it doesn't really directly apply to district/council logistics, but hopefully gives you something useful.(This message has been edited by dScouter15)

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We've gone back to a Council level Scouting for Food.


1) Team up with the regional food bank service. Also team with the Chartered Partners which have internal food pantries.


2) Organize, organize, organize: Get inside the Chartered Partner decision cycles: Get the Chartered Partners to tell units this is a MUST DO.


3) Pair off Packs and Troops: Packs drop bags, Troops pick them up.


4) Publicity, publicity, publicity: SE/Council President/Area Food Bank chairman on the radio/tv/major papers. Units in local papers. Coordinate internet publicity. Ask unit members to forward Constant Contact and other forms of broadcast messages to non-Scouting friends.


5) Who is going to donate the shopping bags? They help!

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We signed up for the bags to be picked up at round table. DE said he had ours......Had a box with the Pack and troop number written on them. Round table ended went to pick them up and they were gone.........Another Troop picked up our bags and left. oh well.


Ask the DE for more and there is none. Guess no food for scouting this year.


Oh well, Hopefully who ever took them actually uses them, in our area they give out a huge number of bags and I was told less than 5% ever get returned.

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Here is what I learned to getting the most impact from the Scouting For Food Community Service Project: make it a one day event. Infact, make it just a morning event.


Reasons why:

1. Gives the Scouts an opportunity to meet and members of the community. Cubs Scouts are very cute.

2. Give the folks of the community a chance to meet Scouts at their best, community service. Next best thing to being help across the street.

3. Cheapest and best method of marketing for the local scouting program.

4. You will get the most food because folks few compelled to give when confronted in person.

5. Takes the least amount of the adults time and saves a lot of gas.

6. Takes the least amount of District volunteers time and it is done in one weekend.


I learned all these things over the 15 years of working with the program. It makes no sense to me that we send scouts to the doors of our community without them ever meeting those folks. The first year our pack tried the idea of a one day collection by sending two scouts to each door, our pack gathered more food than the rest of the district, so I was told. But much more important, our scouts and our community met each other and they enjoyed it. Our Cubs talked about this for weeks because they had so much fun. People are interesting and cubs are curious, that mix makes for a great scouting day.


The Boy Scouts dont seem to have as much fun, but they do enjoy it only taking four hours of one day. To make the day even more fun, we brought donuts and hot chocolate. When I finally talked our district into trying a one day food gathering, it turn out so successful and they liked it enough to try and convince Council to do it that way next yet. But, as with many things, politics got involved and the BSA had to back out from the partner who also sponsored the event. It was not the BSAs fault and all agree the departure was best.


Make it a great event, make it only one day long. I know it sounds silly, but it works.




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I agree with the comments about the publicity and also think the one-day event, face-to-face has merit.


Last year, our collection was 2/3 of what it had been in 2008. This year, it was less than 1/2. We did the drop bags one week, pick up the next routine.

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In our town, scouts distribute the bags one Saturday to every house in town and the following week, the cubs pick everything up and take it directly to the local food pantry. We always do it the first 2 weeks of November so the timing is great for Thanksgiving. It is easily the biggest donation it gets all year. We have used post it notes on doors in the past, but this year are going back to bags as they seem to generate the best results. Kinda harder for people to toss an empty bag.(This message has been edited by zippyboro)

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get council approval; you will get better returns if the Scouts are in uniform for both the dropoff and the pickup.

Send a before the event picture & article to all the papers, get mentioned in the community calendar (online version also), get mentioned on the community radio program, make a flyer to post in the library. After the event, send a pix of the Scouts collecting food with a short article thanking everyone for participating.


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Make sure your places of worship are involved, even if they don't charter a unit. Ask if you can collect at the service closest to the Scouting for Food weekend, and have Cubs, Scouts, Ventureres, etc. man the collection point. In complete uniform with a smile, of course.


Also, I did it one year for our pack and troop. The Cubs collected, and the Scouts sorted, loaded the cars, and went with me to the Salvation Army. The 11 am show time for sorting was easier on the big boys.

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I used to be the SFF coordinator in our town ,before the State said I couldn't be involved, we used to get Bags from a local store. We would staple flyers on the bags and pass them out on thursday night and collect on Saturday morning. We found if you wait more than 3 days people forget.


On our flyer we advertised it as Scouting for Food for the Neighborhood center and Scouting for Cans in support of local scouting. We also got several Banners from the local Pepsi distributor to put up.


By dividing the town up and assigning area to different Patrols and Dens we covered the Town plus 2 smaller adjacent towns.



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