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Scouting for Food adjusts for pandemic with drop-off, drive-thru collections
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Scouting for Food adjusts for pandemic with drop-off, drive-thru collections

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During a normal year, Scouts BSA members across the area place grocery bags on the doors of local homes, asking residents to fill the bags and leave them on their front steps the next week. The Scouts then pick up the donations and distribute them to local food pantries.

But this is not a normal year.

Scouting for Food is not canceled this year, but it has changed due to COVID-19. Instead of sending Scouts to homes across the region, Southern Illinoisans are asked to drop off donations at collection points and during drive-thru collection events.

Monetary donations will be accepted through a text-to-give campaign.

“The food pantries in this area will be needing our support even more this year, and we will have to be creative in how we do it,” Steve Buhman, communications chair for the Big Muddy District of the Greater St. Louis Area Council BSA, said in a press release.

One way is to donate through the Scout text-to-give campaign. Just text “SCOUTFOOD” to 91999 to donate any amount. It will ask for a ZIP code location so that the donated amount will generate a purchase of food items for the local pantry, which will be delivered to the pantry by one of the major food banks in the St. Louis area.

The local Scout troops and packs are also developing ways for people to donate food. Some drive-thru and drop-off events are planned at locations throughout the region. Also, collection barrels or bins are available at locations around the area.

The food drive has been extended beyond the usual third Saturday in November.

Scouting for Food collection drives and drop-off points are currently as follows. Buhman said additional sites may be added.

Drop-off and drive-thru sites will be available Saturday, Nov. 21, including:

  • Drive-thru, 9-11 a.m., Murphysboro Food Pantry, 906 N. 14th St., Murphysboro;
  • Drop-off, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the United Methodist Church and Ministerial Alliance and the Manna Mission, both on Broadway Street, Johnson City;
  • Drop-off, 9 a.m. to noon, east door of Zion United Church of Christ, 930 W. Cherry St., Marion;
  • Drive-thru, 9 a.m. to noon, Cambria Food Pantry, 302 S. Richart St., Cambria;
  • Drive-thru, 9 to 11 a.m., Carterville Food Pantry, Old Library Building, 117 S. Division St., Carterville;
  • Drive-thru, 9 a.m. to noon, Hurst Food Pantry, 111 N. Bush Ave., Hurst;
  • Drive-thru, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., South Side Lumber, 1300 S. Park Ave., Herrin;
  • Drop-off, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1 to 4:30 p.m., Herrin BSA Service Center, 803 E. Herrin St., except Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26, and Nov. 27;
  • Drive-thru, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Benton American Legion 280/ VFW, 311 S. Main St., Benton.

Food collection bins are located at these locations (they are are inside unless otherwise noted):

  • Gorham Community Center, 306 Washington St. Collection bin is outside.
  • Sand Ridge Baptist Church in Sand Ridge. Collection bin is outside.
  • St. Ann's Catholic Church, 101 Raddle Church Lane, Raddle.
  • Dollar General, 101 Springfield Ave., Anna.
  • Dollar General, 607 E. Broad St., Jonesboro.
  • Dollar General, 315 N.E. Front St., Dongola.
  • Kroger Store, 45 Plaza Drive, Anna.
  • Perry County Market Place, 412 S. Main St., Pinckneyville.
  • Herrin Kroger Store, 1609 S. Park Ave. Collection bin is inside the exit door.
  • Hurst Casey’s General Store, 16060 Cambria Road.
  • Casey’s General Store, 917 S. Maple St., Cambria.
  • Casey’s General Store, 1207 S. Division St., Carterville.
  • Borowiak’s IGA Foodliner, 1114 S. Division St., Carterville.
  • Dollar General, 314 W. Plaza St., Carterville.
  • Murphysboro Food Pantry, 906 N. 14th St., Murphysboro.

Buhman said he expects other collection sites to be added, including some in Carbondale.

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