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BluejacketScouter

SFF is Frustrating

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One of the units that I am UC for is a new Pack with 18 boys in a small, rural town.

 

For the second year in a row, they collected 1,500 pounds for Scouting for Food (yay).

 

For the second year in a row, over 1/3 of it was expired items, dried goods that were already opened, or items so old they did not even have an expiration date (grr).

 

All of which was promptly discarded by the food pantry in that very same town, that is run by a sister church of the CO.

 

Come on people, what do you think - that needy people should just take whatever you feel like tossing onto the pile?

 

I am about this " " close to telling the unit leaders that next year they should sort the bag when it's picked up, and leave the expired and opened items right on the porch.

 

Thanks for letting me vent. Please return to your Scouting.

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Frustrating, yes, but I'll wager that most people don't check the expiration date before putting their bags out on the porch. As far as sorting and leaving the unacceptable stuff on the porch, it's just not feasible if you want to be done collecting in a reasonable amount of time.

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Hey, I'd rather pick up expired items than some of the things we've gotten...for the past few years, we've had people decide to fill the SFF bag with dog poop. Obviously, we just leave these bags right where their owner left them...

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We always assume that the person leaving the food had no idea and would have served it to their own family. I see it as good luck that they sent it to us so we can compost it.

 

What I do get a kick out of is the exotic and high $$ items we do get. I wonder why they purchased it in the first place.

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Our CO runs the local food pantry. That solves a lot of the problems. Folks have a better sense that they would be shorting their neighbor, not just any Samaritan.

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We have picked up bags to find out we have been given dog food, bird food, fish food and even a plastic jug of kitty litter!

 

But one of the coolest things we ever got was a MRE.

 

Of course, we couldn't give it to the food pantry, so instead, I made it the topic of a pack meeting.

 

I presented to everybody, the kind of food that the military - who defends our freedoms to eat pizza, go to restaurants, and order take out or microwave - eats while sitting in the hot/ cold/wet place they are at. They could be eating this MRE while squatting down in a ditch for the 4th day in a row.

 

One of the best learning moments we ever had.

 

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Our CO does a food drive and last time just came out and said if you wouldn't eat it, don't donate it. It was much blunter than that.

 

However, with the risk of insulting your donors, it may just be better to toss the weird, out of date stuff before sending it on. Don't make a big deal out of it, but make it easier for the receiving food pantry.

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BJS,

 

I can appreciate the venting. That must have been very frustrating. On a personal note....I found a 2 year expired can of Squid in its own juice. I remember thinking..."The homeless are really going to eat this???" WOW.

 

Anyways...I was accused recently of looking at things as the "glass is half full" and wanted to share something with you. (Please...no judgement intended...just sharing is all).

 

Person 1 - That glass is half empty (Pessimist).

 

Person 2 - That glass is half full. (Optimist)

 

Person 3 - There's a glass of water (Realist)

 

Person 4 - Thank's for the glass of water! (Opportunist)

 

I have a house full of opportunist's always snitching dad's water (aka Lemonade)

 

Happy Trails.... S.

 

 

P.S. Thank you for your service as a UC.... you do make a difference!!!!

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Most of the problem is solved when the scouts go door to door asking for donations. The folks dont spend the extra few seconds looking for expired food items while the scouts are waiting at the door. Collections will go up because most folks will find something in their pantry as apposed to just throwing away the bag left at their door.

 

Going door to door is better for scouting too because the public meets the scouts face to face as does the scouts get to practice bragging about their scouting program.

 

Our Council doesnt do SFF anymore because of city politics (nothing scouting), but when we did, I managed to change our districts policy of dropping off bags the first weekend and picking them up the next weekend to just spending one weekend (Saturday morning) going door to door requesting donations. Our district had by far the most donations and we didnt spend two weekends of everyones time doing it.

 

Barry

 

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Yep, the SfF is a worthwhile endeavor. And leads to some headshaking, as has been noted.

 

Make sure you include an explanatory note, a half page is sufficient, about WHY this empty grocery bag is hanging on your doorknob, and include a phone number to call for information.

 

And Scouter, the government engineer would say... "the design and execution of the liquid retention device is overly commodious and should be therefore redecided to allow more economical utilage of available construction materials".

 

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"...I managed to change our districts policy of dropping off bags the first weekend and picking them up the next weekend to just spending one weekend (Saturday morning) going door to door requesting donations. Our district had by far the most donations and we didnt spend two weekends of everyones time doing it. "

 

Our Pack will be doing this next year. It is the most effective approach.

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"We have picked up bags to find out we have been given dog food, bird food, fish food and even a plastic jug of kitty litter!"

 

Were they new or were they partially used? If new, they could be dropped off at a pet shelter or veterinarian's office (they often know of some clients that are struggling but still want to take good care of their pets), and some food pantry's, especially smaller ones run by churches or in small towns, are glad to offer them up to people they're giving food to when those folks also have pets to care for.

 

I do like the idea of just going door to door one Saturday. One Cub Scout Pack in our district arranged to man a donation table at all 5 grocery stores in town - they got a lot of donations - both in food, and in cash - and it was fresh items. They handed out suggestions as folks were coming in, and they thought about 60% of the folks donated at least one item on the list. Saturday's are the busiest shopping day here, and people really do respond to Scouts (Cub, Boy, Brownie and Girl) asking for donations of food for the food pantries.

 

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A few weeks ago, I used a dry soup mix that was at least a year past it's expiration date. It was tasty and I'm still here to tell the tale.

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Well, we got lots of things that had to be discarded: opened rice, whole potatoes, an entire pantry. If you work at a food bank warehouse a common job is sorting thru donations and discarding the items that are dented, vastly expired, or "not food". I think this is typical of donation drives.

 

I wouldn't let it get you down. Focus on the positive. What are the boys learning by being of service?

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