Scouting for Food collects 16,000 pounds
by Wes Mayer
Hundreds of Flint River Council Boy Scouts swept through Coweta County Saturday morning collecting more than 16,000 pounds of food donated by many gracious residents.
Last Sunday was Scout Sunday, and local Cub Scouts spent the day giving bags to Coweta County residents with the request to fill them with non-perishable food. On Saturday, the anniversary of Boy Scouts of America, 245 local Boy Scouts and 163 parents went back around collecting the freshly filled bags and brought them to Toyota of Newnan on Bullsboro Drive where volunteers were waiting to sort them.
This is the fifteenth year of Scouting for Food in Coweta County, and every year, the collected food is donated to the Salvation Army service center on Jefferson Street for its walk-in food pantry. This is also the fifth year the Boy Scouts have been able to use Toyota of Newnan’s dealership lobby as a sorting ground before sending the food on to the Salvation Army.
“We have fun doing this, and we break our backs doing this,” said Verna Funk, district chair of Scouting for Food, to the volunteers. “It is all for a good cause, and it all stays in Coweta County. Doing good daily — that’s what Boy Scouts is all about”
Funk said last year, 19,373 pounds of food were collected by the scouts and donated to the Salvation Army. Funk said they always try to break the number from the year before, and each year, they use the same map of the county to return to the charitable areas and find new areas to scout.
Because this was the fifteenth year, Funk went the extra mile to get the word out, and the day was officially recognized by Newnan Mayor Keith Brady and Congressman Lynn Westmoreland. Brady sent Funk a document proclaiming Saturday ‘Newnan-Coweta Boy Scouts Good Turn Day.’ Westmoreland also sent Funk a congratulatory letter, commending her and all the Boy Scouts for collecting a total of 207,691 pounds of food since the annual event began.
“This food will last in our pantry a good six to eight months,” said Stephanie May, director of the Salvation Army service center. “We will eventually be able to store it all,” she joked, looking at all the boxes.
The Salvation Army walk-in pantry is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. to noon, May said — some days, close to 30 families may be waiting to enter the pantry. May said it was very helpful how the volunteers sort the food because they can easily refill the pantry’s shelves when they run out of a certain type of food.
May said many Cowetans recently donated food, clothing and supplies to the Salvation Army for the victims of the Jefferson Point apartment fire in January. The fire destroyed nine apartments, leaving 32 people homeless. May said the victims are welcome to come back to the pantry all throughout February.
Volunteers worked throughout mid day Saturday sorting the donated food. By 2:30 p.m., the Salvation Army Service center received a total of 16,443 pounds of food in just one day.
Funk wanted to give special thanks to the many charitable residents of Coweta County and also to Walt Gutierrez, owner of Toyota of Newnan, for allowing the volunteers to use his dealership’s floor space.
“Without you, we wouldn’t be here,” Funk said.