Jefferson City area scouts — boys and girls with the Boy Scouts of America — and adult volunteers collected more than 5 tons of food over the weekend for the Samaritan Center through the annual Scouting for Food program.
The food drive program's coordinator John Young reported Saturday 10,400 pounds of food had been collected — more than the goal of 10,000 pounds, even despite the rainy weather Saturday morning.
Jim Dallas, scoutmaster of Wardsville's Troop 394, said he had four scouts help with the two-day food drive Friday and probably had about eight scouts involved altogether, not counting adults.
Young said at least two girl Cub Scout dens were also among those who helped Saturday. He guessed about 21 scouting units in total were registered to help, and each one probably had two or three adults and two to five scouts.
The food was bought by customers at area grocery stores — the Gerbes and Walmarts on both ends of the city, as well as Hy-Vee, Sam's Club, Save-A-Lot and Schulte's — and then immediately collected to be taken to the Samaritan Center.
The most needed food items were peanut butter, jelly, Jiffy corn bread, soups, Spaghettio's, tuna, pasta, cereal, and canned fruit and vegetables — and not in glass containers.
"In my volunteer life, I work here at the Samaritan Center once a week, kind of see the value of what we do in terms of helping feed families that need that help. Bottom line for me, it's just another opportunity to bring in food" that needs to be distributed, Young said Saturday after the food drive.
The Samaritan Center's food pantry manager Carlos Robinette said "a lot of our giving (that's received) is through the holiday season," and the Scouting for Food program helps keep the pantry stocked past the winter.
Young later added he enjoys seeing people's generosity, coming out of stores with multiple bags of groceries they then immediately give away.
He said someone also gave away a $100 bill Saturday, adding the amount of cash received in total was "pretty substantial," though he did not have an exact count.