Scouting for Food, the county’s largest food drive, is scheduled for next month

Scouting For Food scouts (courtesy photo)

The Arlington Food Assistance Center is gearing up for its biggest one-day food drive.

As food prices continue to rise across the country, Scouting for Food – an annual event held in partnership with local Scout troops and Cub Scout packs – has taken on new urgency.

On Saturday, Nov. 5, Scouts will be going door-to-door and distributing bags to homes across the county so residents can collect non-perishable food items. The scouts return the following Saturday to collect the donations and bring them to the Savior Lutheran Church, to be sorted by volunteers.

The food is then delivered to AFAC, where additional volunteers prepare it for distribution.

The campaign has raised more than a million pounds of food since 1995, and AFAC CEO Charles Meng said in recent years it has raised more than 55,000 pounds in donations.

“And the families who come to us desperately need it,” he said.

Even in one of the wealthiest counties in the country, thousands of families face food insecurity.

The Arlington Food Assistance Center distributes food six days a week at its location at 2708 S. Nelson Street. Meng says there has been a sharp increase in need since January and the center currently serves about 2,500 families, or around 8,000 people. He says a third of them are children.

“At this time of year, we normally serve over 2,000 families a week, but we were up to 2,468 families last week, and that’s increased to about 25 to 30 families a week,” a- he said, adding that if the trend continues for a few more weeks, demand will exceed the peak of the pandemic.

AFAC pays for 60% of the food it distributes, and rising food prices and growing demand are just two of the reasons Meng says this event is essential for the centre.

“More families are coming to us, so we need more food to give them, which means we’re buying more, but we’re also buying it at a much higher price.”

He says the center is somewhat unusual in that it buys food to donate, whereas most pantries only donate food given to them.

“So the Boy Scouts food drive, being a national effort, really helps everyone in this country, and especially the pantries who really don’t have the resources to buy food,” he said. he declares.

The Arlington Food Assistance Center also hosts food drives at various locations around the county, including Arlington Public Libraries. Meng says readers are key as the holiday season approaches.

“During holidays, it’s really important,” Meng said. “It’s one of the best ways to get the kind of food our families love and will eat.”

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