‘Scouting for Food’ gets support

The Ocean County Board of Freeholders gave its support to a program that has, in the past, provided more than 150,000 meals to families.

“This board gives its wholehearted support to the ‘Scouting for Food, Good Turn’ program,” said Freeholder Deputy Director John P. Kelly. “We commend the Jersey Shore Boy Scouts of America and all the Scouting organizations that participate in this endeavor. It’s an extremely worthwhile cause.”

In 1988, the Boy Scouts of America launched the national “Good Turn,” known as Scouting for Food. It was part of a campaign that targeted what the scouts called five “unacceptables” in society: hunger, child abuse, illiteracy, unemployment and drug abuse.

“Since that time, almost 5 million pounds of nonperishable food has been collected in Atlantic and Ocean counties, southeastern Burlington County and Ocean City,” said Ethan Draddy, Scout executive for the Jersey Shore Boy Scouts of America. “The 2003 food collection campaign netted more than 325,000 pounds of food, the single largest collection effort in the northeast region.”

Kelly said the work for the Scouts and the hundreds if not thousands of volunteers that work on this program should be commended.

“This program entails a lot of leg work and a lot of time,” Kelly said. “We deeply appreciate the Scouts and the many volunteers who are helping others who are less fortunate in their communities.”

On Nov. 13, the Boy Scouts, in cooperation with other groups and organizations, will deploy more than 15,000 Scouts and volunteer leaders to distribute bags that can hold nonperishable canned foods. On the following Saturday, Nov. 20, the Scouts and volunteers will return to collect the bags and the food inside of them.

The food, through the Ocean Hunger Relief program, will be distributed to community food pantries that will directly assist families in Ocean County.

“We encourage our residents to participate in this food collection program,” Kelly said. “This is a great way to show community spirit and to help your neighbor.”

Draddy was joined by Dr. Jon Larson, president of Ocean County College, and Carol Latif, executive director of the Ocean Hunger Relief program at the preboard meeting of the Board of Freeholders.

“Getting the support of the freeholder board means a great deal to this program,” Draddy said. “Their endorsement points at this program with true community pride.”