Scouts, letter carriers celebrate food drive’s 20th year Saturday

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By The Staff

This year, the Boy Scouts, Cubs Scouts and the Venture Scouts will team up Saturday with the Atomic City Letter Carriers to help collect food for people who are struggling in Los Alamos.

Started nearly 20 years ago, the food drive has become an institution that thousands of residents participate in every year.

Cub Scouts will be on hand outside of the Smith’s stores in Los Alamos and White Rock with a list of items if customers would like to donate a can of food or some other non-perishable item to the cause.

Most of the donations go to LA Cares, the local food pantry. But it doesn’t stop there.

Residents have already received a blue card from the Atomic City Letter Carriers, the Los Alamos mail carriers union, in the mail, asking to set out donations out by their mailboxes between 10 a.m.-2 p.m. tomorrow for the Boy Scouts to pick up. All goods collected Saturday day from Smith’s and participating neighborhood will be processed and repackaged at the Crossroads Bible Church.

This year, LA Cares hopes to feed just over 200 people with the donations.

The drive helps the scouts, too. By giving to others, the scouts learn how to help those who are going through hard times. It also teaches them civil responsibility.

One of the goals of scouting is community service,” Volunteer Scouting Coordinator for the Sangre de Cristo District William Blumenthal said.

Over 20 different units throughout the district participate, with full participation in Los Alamos County.

The Cub Scouts will mostly handle the collection at Smiths, while the older scouts will pick up the donations at the mailboxes.

Besides canned goods, residents can donate toiletry items and other items residents feel they might need.
Linda Burns is the coordinator for LA Cares.

“People always say, ‘what do you need the most.’ Well there’s no real answer to that,” Burns said. “We have a couple of standard suggestions, canned chicken, beef stew, unsweetened, non-sugared cereal, and 64-ounce bottles of juice, unsugared. But we also say, what would you miss most, if you don’t have it.”

The drive is designed to help the families get through the winter.

Blumenthal had another suggestion, using a scenario that has happened to families all too often.

“You’re no longer in your house… what do you need,” he said. “Everything.”

That may include toilet supplies, feminine hygiene supplies, cleaning products, anything that would help a transplanted family get back at least a small sense of normalcy.

The drive is one of two drives the National Letter Carriers and the scouts have every year.

The spring drive usually nets between 12,000 to 15,000 pounds of food and items, and this drive, the fall/winter drive sometimes nets up to 20,000 pounds of food and items. The drive happens on one day only, usually a Saturday.
“People think about food in the fall, usually right before Thanksgiving,” Blumenthal said.

Burns said the drive has been a vital part of helping struggling families in Los Alamos County make it through the year.