Help the Scouts of Gulf Ridge Council help others by filling the Scouting for Food bags distributed by the Boy Scouts. Bags filled with non-perishable food items will be picked up by the Scouts on Saturday, February 18.

Each year, the Boy Scouts of Gulf Ridge Council conduct a food drive. The Scouting For Food Drive will be kicked off on Saturday, February 11 with the delivery of 40,000 bags to homes throughout the area including Brandon, Valrico, FishHawk Ranch, Plant City and Riverview.

Residents are asked to fill the bags with non-perishable (items that your family would typically eat) and place them by their front door on Saturday, February 18 for collection by the Scouts.

The majority of the food collected in the greater Brandon area will go the Emergency Care Help Organization (ECHO). However, participating Scout units may select other recipients such as Nativity Catholic Church.

According to Stacey Efaw, executive director of ECHO, “Our area has one of the highest numbers of applications for food stamps. Every year, ECHO sees an ever increasing need for help.” According to Molly Blanton, district executive, Timucua District, Gulf Ridge Council, “Boy Scouts have been supportingĀ  ECHO for over 15 years. ECHO is the largest food pantry in our area, and they have assisted some of our Scouting families over the years.”

Blanton added, “The needs at places like ECHO have grown each year. The people in our area have increased their support of our Scouting for Food Drive. In 1998, Scouts collected just over 7,000 lbs. and this year our goal is 20,000 lbs.” Last year, 15,300 lbs. were collected.

The Scouts have once again teamed up with Feeding America Tampa Bay to distribute the food. They will match donations to most groups. According to Blanton, “Partnering with Feeding America is an opportunity for the Scouting For Food Drive to increase the benefit to many of the food banks we help.”

Efaw said, “We are so grateful to the Boy Scouts and the members of the community who donate the food. We could not serve the area’s needy without your help.”

The annual food drive allows Boy Scouts to fulfill their “Good Turn” commitment to the community, and promotes Scouting’s effort to promote a culture of service to others. The timing of the food drive also helps food pantries such as ECHO replenish their shelves after the holiday season.

For more information, please contact Steve Cox at or visit

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