By Kathy L. Collins

For 25 years, the Boy Scouts of Gulf Ridge Council have participated in a nationwide food drive called “Scouting For Food.” This year’s food drive will be kicked off on Saturday, February 16 when Scouts deliver bags to thousands of homes throughout the greater Brandon area.

Residents are asked to fill the bags with personal care items and non-perishable food items such as canned soup, canned meats, pasta, canned vegetables and dried milk. Place the filled bag by your front door on Saturday, February 23, and Scouts will come and pick up the bags.

The majority of the food collected in the greater Brandon are will go to ECHO of Brandon (Emergency Care Help Organization), a food and clothing pantry that has been serving the area for 25 years.

Walter McKnight is the District Scouting For Food Chairman. McKnight said, “We ask that the community participate in this food drive because food pantries such as ECHO need to be restocked after the holidays. People are hungry all year long.” McKnight added, “There are three main food drives in the area. Each drive fills the food pantry shelves at critical times. It is especially important this year because area pantries, including ECHO, do not have sufficient non-perishable goods to meet the current needs.”

Last year, the Boy Scouts of Gulf Ridge Council collected 18,000 pounds of food. This year’s goal is to collect 25,000 pounds. The Scouts are once again partnering with Feeding America of Tampa Bay on this food drive. McKnight said, “From this drive, Feeding America provides additional support to ECHO which varies from year to year.”

Stacey Efaw, Executive Director of ECHO said, “we are very grateful for the Scouting For Food Drive. We simply could not serve the number of people that are facing hunger issues in the greater Brandon area without the help of the Scouts and the community. Last year we served over 10,000 area residents, half of whom are children.”

The annual Scouting For Food Drive allows Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Venturers and Explorers to fulfill their “Good Turn” commitment to the community. Contact Walter McKnight at or call 643-7343.

For more information on ECHO and how you can help throughout the year, please visit

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