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Boy Scouts driven to aid area food banks

| Saturday, April 20, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Leaders in community service for decades, members of the local Boy Scouts of America units will be visible in many communities across the region this week as they work on their annual Scouting for Food project that benefits local food bank organizations.

“We've been doing this on a local level for many years,” said Westmoreland-Fayette Boy Scout council executive Martin Barbie, explaining that the drive has been a success for the group whose goal is to give back to the community. “Last year they raised over 64,000 pounds of food.”

Starting Saturday, local Scouts visited neighborhoods in their areas and placed door hangers, reminding residents of the collection day for the drive, which will be April 27 in both Fayette and Westmoreland counties.

Residents who wish to participate can place nonperishable items out to be picked up starting at 9 a.m. April 27.

This year, several local Nationwide Insurance agencies have joined in the effort and will act as additional drop-off points, collecting food the entire month of April for the drive, adding to the big Scout project.

“We will have about 100 units from both counties out for this,” Barbie said. “That equals to an estimated 1,500 young people working on this drive.”

Barbie said that the collection has been a huge success for the group, which plans this drive to be the biggest project conducted by the Scouts.

“This is our largest single community project that we do each year,” Barbie said. “Our Scouts complete over 36,000 hours of community service every year, but this is our single largest one.”

Items collected then will be distributed to the Westmoreland and Fayette county food banks.

“During these tough economic times, basic needs like food are critical to many, many families in our area, and we see this as an important role our scouts can play in supporting the community,” said Jack Waite of the Westmoreland-Fayette Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

For additional information, call the Scout Service Center in Greensburg at 724-837-1630.

Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.

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