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Scouts forage food from doorsteps to help Utahns in need

Published: Saturday, March 22 2014 11:43 p.m. MDT

Spencer Caton goes house to house collecting food with other Scouts in South Jordan for the 28th annual Scouting for Food drive to benefit the Utah Food Bank, regional food banks and emergency food pantries across the state on Saturday, March 22, 2014.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Boy Scouts set out to the streets Saturday, hoping to collect more than enough food to provide at least 1 million meals for Utah's hungry.

It is the 28th year for the organization's statewide forage for non-perishable food and the largest effort to restock scant shelves at the Utah Food Bank.

"The food gathered across the state will have a great impact on the one in five Utah kids at risk of missing a meal today," said Ginette Bott, chief development officer at the Utah Food Bank. She said 472,000 Utahns live unsure of where their next meal will come from.

According to the Utah Food Bank, one in six Utahns (17 percent) live in poverty.

Bott said the most-needed food items — canned soups and stews, peanut butter, boxed meals and canned meats and vegetables — will be distributed throughout a statewide network of 130 emergency food pantries and agencies that assist families in need all year long.

The bags were distributed empty and then set out for the Scouts curb-side when filled, helping the young boys fulfill their duty to be useful and serve others.

Last year, during the Scouting for Food event, 55,000 Scouts and their adult leaders helped to collect 36.3 million pounds of food and goods — the equivalent of approximately 28.4 million meals for families and individuals in need, according to the food bank.

The Utah Food Bank also served over 200,000 Kids Cafe meals, delivered nearly 42,000 food boxes and filled more than 62,000 kids' backpacks for weekends and school holidays.

Pantry supplies are typically lower in the springtime, statewide, following particularly busy winter/holiday season requests from hungry Utahns.

The food bank accepts food and cash donations year-round at all Harmon's grocery stores, as well as at the main warehouse, 3150 S. 900 West in Salt Lake City. A list of participating pantries throughout the state can be found online at www.utahfoodbank.org.

Email: wleonard@deseretnews.com, Twitter: wendyleonards

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