The Narragansett Council, Boy Scouts of America held its 32nd Annual “Scouting for Food Good Turn” drive on November 2nd across Rhode Island, Southeastern Massachusetts and Connecticut. Thousands of Scouts distributed door hangers to neighbors’ homes seeking donations of nutritional, non-perishable canned goods. The annual initiative, the largest food drive in New England, highlighted one of Scouting’s primary focuses – doing a “Good Turn” daily. This year, through a partnership started in 2018, Ocean State Job Lot donated 33,000 pounds of food. In total, the Narragansett Council and their partners donated over 190,000 pounds of food this year.
More than 200 Scouting Packs and Troops from across Southern New England participated in the drive by collecting canned goods from families and individuals. Donation pick-ups were on Saturday, November 2 starting at 9 a.m., and were delivered to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank and other local food pantries.
“Scouting for Food brings the community together to help our neighbors in need,” said Carl Papino, first year Chairman of the food drive in a provided statement. “In 2018, Scouting For Food delivered 270,827 pounds of food for those in need. We were proud to donate another 190,000 pounds of food this year to alleviate hunger in our communities, with the generous help of Ocean State Job Lot.”
Joe DeStefano, the longtime Chairman of Scouting for Food for over 31 years, passed away in July at the age of 94. Under his leadership, the Scouts collected more than 9.2 million pounds of food for neighbors in need. Joe’s commitment to Scouting For Food each year was a testament to his service to Scouting and the community.
Papino has been active in Scouting for over fifty years before becoming Chairman in July. He has held numerous volunteer positions with the Scouts, and served for five years as Associate District Executive in the former Pokanoket District, and District Executive in the former Sachem District. Carl’s two sons are Eagle Scouts, and his daughter earned the Silver Award from the Girl Scouts of the USA.
Each month, 53,000 Rhode Islanders seek food assistance through the Food Bank’s network of emergency food programs. 12.4% of Rhode Island households struggle to afford nutritious meals, and 5.6% of Rhode Island households experience severe hunger. A total of 120,000 Rhode Islanders live in poverty.
“The Scouting for Food Drive is our biggest food drive of the year,” said Andrew Schiff, Chief Executive Officer of the Rhode Island Community Food Bank in a prepared statement. “It comes at a critical time as winter approaches. We’re so thankful for everyone who contributed including the Scouts and their families who work so hard to help our neighbors in need.”
“Scouting for Food is an important event not only to serve our communities, but for Scouts to build character and develop an ethic of community. It brings troops and packs together to do their part and give to the less fortunate,” said Tim McCandless, CEO of the Narragansett Council, Boy Scouts of America in a prepared statement. “We thank everyone who participated this year to alleviate hunger in our communities and also thank Ocean State Job Lot for their unwavering commitment to the community’s needy.”
Scouting for Food is a cooperative effort supported by the Narragansett Council, Boy Scouts of America, the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, Ocean State Job Lot, WPRI-12 News, Fox Providence, the Rhode Island National Guard, The Valley Breeze and area fire stations.
“The Scouts of the Narragansett Council were excited to help make this year the most successful drive yet,” said Papino. “This opportunity helped Scouts learn the importance of assisting people in need, and offered the chance for everybody to partake in the spirit of generosity.”
If you were not able to participate in the Scouting for Food drive but would like to give, please visit your local food pantry or the RI Community Food Bank located at 200 Niantic Ave., Providence. Food can also be dropped off at one of our two Scout Shops:
- West Bay Scout Shop at 1276 Bald Hill Rd, Warwick RI
- East Bay Scout Shop at 79 Swansea Mall Dr., Swansea MA