Area food banks rely on help from Boy Scouts with annual food drive

BRISTOL, Tenn. and Va. - Doorsteps across our region were busy Saturday morning with Boy Scouts picking up bag after bag of food. It's part of the annual Scouting For Food drive, now in its 25th year.

Collections started bright and early Saturday morning. "I collected a total of 27 bags," said Boy Scout Lee Cowan.

Boy Scouts all across our region, from Big Stone Gap to Greeneville, went door to door picking up bags filled with food to stock a pantry. "Seems like a lot of folks didn't put one bag of food out, they put two or three bags of food. So it was really encouraging to see the community come together," said Rick Guthrie with Boy Scouts of America.

Last weekend those same scouts went door to door hanging empty plastic bags. One week later, all that food is going to help area food banks like the Bristol Emergency Food Pantry. The need there is growing, in fact organizers say they're expecting to help more than 15,000 people this year. "We've had such a demand lately. We do have some food on the shelves but we've had to buy all of that food and at the present we're spending about $10,000 a month," said Bristol Emergency Food Pantry organizer Jim White.

News 5 learned that's something this food pantry can't afford for long and Scouting For Food is not only their biggest food drive, it makes all the difference in the world. "We try to give as much as we can, but when the shelves get bare that means that we cannot give as much food to any families as we would like to," added White.

Bristol Boy Scouts hope to collect between 20,000 to 25,000 pounds of food with this drive.

For those dropping off canned goods, it feels good to help. "You don't realize that maybe that's your neighbor that can be hungry," said Linda Scott.

If you happened to miss this food drive, Boy Scouts are still collecting food for the next week. Donation boxes will be outside area Food City locations.

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