Earlier this month, the scouts distributed bags in neighborhoods from Tremonton to St. George. The scouts asked residents to put nonperishable food items into the bags to be placed on porches to be picked up, said Thomas Heffron, who has been in charge of the Summit County program for the past 20 years.
"The Boy Scouts will start the pickup on Saturday at 9 a.m. and will do the collecting until around noon," Heffron told The Park Record. "We tell the scouts we would like the food collected by 12:30 p.m., because the items have to be sorted and put in crates and boxes and put on the shelves so no one is tripping over food at the collection points."
The food that is collected in areas other than Summit County and Park City will be given to the Utah Food Bank, but the food that is donated in Summit County will stay in Summit County, he said.
"Any bags picked up in Park City will be given to the food pantry at the Christian Center of Park City and the food collected in Coalville and Kamas will be stored in each city's respective Community Action Agencies," Heffron said. "If those places run out of room for storage, the rest of the food will be given to the Food Bank in Salt Lake City or Provo. From there, the food is distributed to local food pantries throughout the state.
The Christian Center of Park City is located at 1283 Deer Valley Dr. The Community Action Agency in Kamas is at 30 S. Main St. and the Community Action Agency in Coalville at 17 S. Main St.
While cans of beans, vegetables and fruit are appreciated, canned foods such as stews, chilis, raviolis and soups are preferred, because many of these needy families have children, Heffron explained.
"The reason is that these canned meals are easy to open and cook," he said. "The Food Pantry at the Christian Center does a good job collecting fresh produce, baked goods, meats and dairy products, but a lot of people who are in need don't always have the means to store and prepare those types of foods.
"We also ask that people don't throw in a can of escargot," Heffron said. "We would like items that will be appreciated more."
Other items that will be accepted include canned or boxed juices and fruits, cereals, canned meats and tuna, peanut butter and jellies, pastas, canned soups and vegetables.
"Toiletries such as toothpastes, shaving supplies and soaps are also needed," he said. "Disposable diapers will also be welcome, but we ask no glass items."
Although last year more than 15,000 items were collected, the program does ebb and flow, Heffron said.
One of the challenges that the food drive faces is that some neighborhoods didn't get collection bags, he explained.
"There are a limited number of Boy Scouts who can actually pick up the food and Summit County is such a huge area," Heffron said. "So to canvass every house with donation bags in the area wasn't possible. That means the scouts will focus on collecting food in areas that they know they can do well and efficiently."
The people who didn't get donation bags can still donate by bringing the food to the Christian Center or the Community Action Agencies, he said.
"People in these places can bring the food over on Saturday or any day, really," Heffron said. "These drop-off points will accept donations all the time, except maybe on Sunday, and even then, they might."
Heffron said he likes how the Scouting for Food is carried out.
"The Scouts have always done a great job with this," he said. "This is a good program and they need props for this."
The Boy Scouts of America will gather bags of donated food during the 2014 Scouting for Food collection on Saturday, March 22, from 9 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Neighborhoods that received food bags should leave their donations on their porches. Those who didn't receive bags and would like to donate can drop off food at the Christian Center of Park City, 1283 Deer Valley Dr., the Community Action Agency in Kamas at 30 S. Main St., and the Community Action Agency in Coalville at 17 S. Main St. For more information, visit www.utahfoodbank.org/scouting .