Canal Winchester Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts from Troop 103 are gearing up for the seventh annual Scouting for Food Community Food Drive.
As with last year's drive, the scouts are hoping to increase the number of contributions from residents and attract several community groups to help collect donations.
Volunteers will head out from the Canal Winchester Community Food Pantry, 360 W. Waterloo St., around 10 a.m. Saturday, April 13, to collect non-perishable food and cash donations from residents in each of Canal Winchester's neighborhoods.
"Last year the event grew by about 100 participants, which is in part due to making this a community food drive, not just a scout effort," organizer Susie Tomlinson said. "We had a couple of groups from the schools, several church groups and even one of the condominium groups organized all of their donations in one spot by the mailboxes so we could quickly and efficiently pick them up."
Tomlinson said the additional volunteers, along with having residents pre-bag their donations and set them out on their porches, contributed to doubling the collection last year from previous years.
"We collected 6,288 cans of food last year and $200 in donations for the food pantry, and they do appreciate monetary donations as well," Tomlinson said. "We appreciate it when donations are bagged and set on the porch but it isn't necessary. We know some people like to say hello to the volunteers; however, it does help us to cover more ground that way."
Canal Winchester Human Services Administrator Penny Miller said the scouts' annual campaign has been a big part of keeping the pantry's shelves stocked each spring.
"More than 1,500 items are distributed each week from the community food pantry, so we're hopeful that enough items come in to support several weeks," Miller said. "We are very grateful for the efforts of the scouts and other volunteers; we rely on their help to make sure the shelves are adequately stocked each spring."
According to Tomlinson, she, as well as the scouts, feel very rewarded by the effort.
"This is the third year I've helped organize this and to see it grow so much is very rewarding, especially because of how it helps people in need in our community," Tomlinson said. "The kids definitely feel good about it, especially when we start in the morning and see how bare the shelves are and then help to make them overflow with items."
Anyone interested in volunteering or who would like more information can call Tomlinson at 614-203-6578 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.