Every year in New Lenox, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts execute an incredible effort to help feed local families.
On Monday, I got to see the result of their work in action. I got to volunteer at the New Lenox Township food pantry along with many others to check for expired food, sort certain types of food and move boxes around.
There were 60 volunteers who signed up to help sort the food—and there was A LOT of food. According to food drive director Bill Thomson, the scouts collected about 42,000 food items this year.
That's slightly down from last year's record haul of about 48,000 items, but still an incredible amount that will help feed many people in the community. Especially when you see it stacked in boxes floor to ceiling, and especially when you look at the pantry shelves and they're fully stocked.
The food will be split evenly among the three local food pantries:
Altogether, the pantries help feed more than 2,000 people in New Lenox. To pull that off, it requires about 35,000 food items every month. The annual Scouts' food drive will certainly help.
"That frees up money that's donated to go toward other food items that go quicker," said Kathie Johnson, family services director at New Lenox Township.
About 400 Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Brownies and Girl Scouts are participating in the food drive, said Bill Thomson, director of the Scouts' food drive. The Scouts expect to hand out 9,500 bags, which were donated by Central Grocers, Inc.
"The program has been great; it helps our community and the kids enjoy participating in this," Thomson said in a previous article.
Gary Cheney, the director of the annual ShareFest volunteerism effort, led the group of volunteers on Monday and said he's always looking for new ways to help feed local families.