Got canned ravioli? Metro-east pantries look forward to Scout collections

News-DemocratNovember 14, 2013 

Cans of meat, fruit and pasta may overflow your pantry, but metro-east Boy Scouts and local food pantries are hopeful those unwanted dinner items may find their way to your front porch.

Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and Webelos will walk and drive through the neighborhoods Saturday morning to collect donated food sitting on doorsteps as part of the area Scouting for Food.

"We greatly appreciate anything," said Donna Gallant, a volunteer at the Fairview Heights Area Food Pantry.

While all non-perishable food donations are accepted, Gallant said her pantry is in extra need of canned meat, like chicken and dumplings and beef stew, canned fruit and canned pastas, especially ravioli.

"Our customers really appreciate canned ravioli," Gallant said.

Metro-east residents who received a notice or bag last weekend are asked to place donated nonperishable food items in a bag on their front porch for the annual drive.

Scouts will begin collection at 9 a.m. Packs will take donated food to local food pantries.

Cindy Killion, a volunteer who helps organize the food pantry at First Christian Church of Belleville, said they're always in need of Cheerios and children's cereals, as well as macaroni and cheese, canned tuna and canned fruit.

This time of year, they're packing holiday baskets for 20 families and like to include ingredients like sugar, flour and oil, in addition to regular nonperishable food staples.

Residents who did not receive a Scouting for Food door hanger or bag are encouraged to donate directly to local pantries.

At the O'Fallon Community Food Pantry, volunteer Carla Clatanoff said they look forward to all donations.

"We pretty much need everything," she said. "Our stocks are very low."

She specifically mentioned canned fruit, spaghetti sauce and cereal, but said the food pantry also needs vegetables, soup, protein sources and other nonperishable items.

Collinsville Area Ministerial Association's Helping Hands Ministry food pantry is asking for volunteers to help sort after the Scouts drop off donations.

"We are asking for any and all help we can get to bring the food and sort it," said Michael Watkins, director of the ministry.

Volunteers are asked to come between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to First United Presbyterian Church, 201 E. Church St. in Collinsville. Lunch will be served to volunteers.

"If you can give one hour or six hours, we need you," Watkins said. "Please pass the word to your families and friends. This takes all of us to get this food in and processed."

Contact reporter Maria Hasenstab at mhasenstab@bnd.com or 618-239-2460.

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