Annual Boy Scout Drive Benefits ECHO
By Tamas Mondovics
100_0451Every year during the month of February, Boy Scouts across America conduct the Scouting for Food Good Turn drive benefitting local charities and organizations in the Tampa Bay area such as ECHO, America’s Second Harvest and Metropolitan Ministries, that in turn help the hungry.Thanks to the 41 scout units located in the Eastern half of Hillsborough County, “Timucua” district, which amounts to approximately 1,200 boys, this year, will be no different.  According to local Scouting for Food Chairman Walter L. McKnight, on Saturday, February 13, Scouts will distribute food bags in a neighborhood of their choice and then will return on the following Saturday, February 20,  to collect the bags left on doorsteps filled with personal care and non-perishable food items.“The Scouts have been involved with this effort for decades and this is their opportunity to give back to the community,” McKnight said adding that other than the satisfaction of helping local residents the boys do not receive a reward for their hard work. In 1988 the first nationwide “Scouting for Food” collection was held.  In that first year more than one million Scouts collected an estimated 65 million items of non-perishable food items.McKnight said that doing their share, last year local Scouts have collected 20,000 pounds of non-perishable food items for ECHO, but said that the goal this year is 25,000, which he said is achievable by the Scouts’ covering more neighborhoods. “We have noticed that participation has grown over the years and we hope that an increase of return will again be evident this February,” he said.ECHO Executive Director Stacey Efaw could not be happier as she explained that drive comes at a time of great need; as many food pantry shelves are empty or nearly so. “This is one of our major food drives for the year,” Efaw said. “We are very thankful for the young Scouts effort in behalf of the community. The drive replenishes the shelves until the next one in May by the U.S. Post office and residents are appreciative on a daily basis.”For more information about ECHO and the upcoming Boys Scout Good Turn Food Drive please call 685-0935 or

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