Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Scouts kick off 100th year celebration with mass relief effort

More than 60,000 join forces Saturday to collect for Bay Area Food Banks 

NOVEMBER 17, 2009 – Boy Scout and Cub Scout leaders throughout the Bay Area are galvanizing a legion of volunteers over 60,000 strong for what one Scout official called “one of the most critical collections in our history” – Saturday’s Scouting For Food Drive.

A year ago, Scouting For Food amassed 774,000 pounds of food in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, Solano, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties (Sonoma County Scouts hold a similar drive in the spring) – the equivalent of just over 600,000 meals for Bay Area Food Banks. Tim Buchen, who organizes the drive for the San Francisco Bay Area Council (Alameda and San Francisco counties), has spent hundreds of hours rallying his troops to aim higher in 2009.

“Boy Scouts were around during the Great Depression and they pulled their weight,” said Buchen, whose council – one of seven participating in the drive in the Bay Area – collected 167,000 pounds of food a year ago. “I think our Scouts understand that they are serving in extraordinary times, and that their responsibily to their community is extraordinary.”

Bay Area residents that received door hangers announcing the drive this past weekend can simply leave bagged or boxed non-perishable (shelf-stable) food by their doors this Saturday morning (Nov. 21). In most cases, Scouts will collect it by 9 a.m. and transport it to regional sites – as many as a dozen per county – where it will be trucked to the food bank in the county where it was collected.

Bay Area Food Banks will distribute more than 110 million pounds of food in 2009, and the Scouting For Food Drive traditionally vies with the Letter Carriers’ Drive (held in April) for the honor of the largest single-day food drive of the year in the Bay Area. “Every food bank is having to buy more and more of its food to keep pace with off-the-charts demand,” said Suzan Bateson, executive director of the Alameda County Community Food Bank, which pays for 58 percent of its food. “The Scouting For Food Drive represents a huge injection of  high-quality food just in time for Thanksgiving; with the USDA reporting all-time highs in childhood hunger, this drive is really about youths helping youths.”

“The sheer volume of this drive is breathtaking,” said Kathy Jackon, executive director of Second Harvest Food Bank of San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties.

For the scouts of the Mount Diablo Silverado Council (Contra Costa and Solano Counties), which collected a Bay Area-high 176,000 pounds in the 2008 drive, collecting food for Bay Area Food Banks represents “the highest ideals of our movement,” said drive organizer Chelsea McClain.

Bay Area residents who miss the Scout collection Saturday morning can deposit their non-perishable groceries at any Safeway, Whole Foods, Lucky or CVS Pharmacy. In addition, each county’s regional collection site can be found on the applicable county’s food bank web site – each of them navigable from www.bayareahunger.org.

“I used to get asked why we do a drive in this part of the Bay Area,” said Marin Council drive organizer Tim Wells. “But I’m not getting many of those kinds of questions this year. Hunger has arrived in Marin. It’s in Napa and it’s in Silicon Valley. Hunger is in unexpected places in 2009.”


Alameda County Community Food Bank • Brian Higgins • (510) 636-4902 • bhiggins@accfb.org

Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano • Lisa Sherrill • (925) 408-7655 • lsherrill@foodbankccs.org

San Francisco Food Bank • Stacy Newman • (415) 282-1900 ext. 270 • snewman@sffoodbank.org

Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties • Lynn Crocker • (408) 694-0044 • lcrocker@shfoodbank.com


Note – All councils are regionalized by county, with the exception of Alameda and Piedmont councils, which conduct business independently in Alameda County, within the borders of the San Francisco Bay Area Council

Alameda (City of Alameda) Council • Robert Johnson (510) 522-2772

Marin Council (Marin County) • Tim Wells (415) 454-1081

Mount Diable Silverado Council (Contra Costa County) • Chelsea McClain (925) 674-6172

Pacific Skyline Council (San Mateo County) • Ron Chang (650) 341-5633

San Francisco Bay Area Council (Alameda, San Francisco counties) • Tim Buchen  (510) 577-9207

Alameda (City of Alameda) Council • Robert Johnson (510) 522-2772

Piedmont Council (City of Piedmont) • Jo Hazelett (510) 547-4493

Santa Clara County Council • Gary Varano (408) 280-5088 ext. 34