Boy Scouts collect groceries to help local food pantries
JANESVILLE Always be prepared.
It's a good motto, especially if you're scouting for food outside in December.
On Saturday morning, local troops of the Boys Scouts of America collected more than 702 bags of groceries during the annual "Scouting for Food Drive."
The groceries will be given to food pantries in Janesville and Beloit, including ECHO, the Salvation Army and Caritas. A similar drive in Milton filled the food pantry there.
Jim Enerson, helped by food pantry volunteers and five inmates in the Rock County Jail's RECAP program, tallied up the bounty and directed traffic Saturday as the food came in to the Salvation Army.
"I think we're going to be up from last year but still down from two years ago," Enerson said.
Last year, unemployment peaked in Rock County at more than 11 percent. This year, it's about 9 percent, and many people are still struggling—or have left the community for jobs elsewhere.
For Esteban and Ethan Ramirez, the food collected Saturday probably seemed like more than enough. The boys spent the morning hauling grocery bags and loading them into the family vehicle. Their territory included a large area around Lincoln School.
Like good Scouts, they were prepared: Each wore serious boots, snow pants, good gloves, a warm jacket and knit caps. Ethan, 8, wore a Dallas Cowboys cap, but nobody seemed to mind.
His brother, Esteban, who turned 10 on Friday, said the pair took turns collecting the food bags that homeowners left out for them.
Did they collect as much as they thought they would?
Esteban shrugged, nodded and then announced, "My brother didn't think we'd get any."
His brother responded by saying, "I'm just as tall as he is," which is an excellent comeback in any situation, especially if it's true.
Partners in Prevention-Rock County sponsored this year's food drive.
The organization provided funding to help with expenses, such as the door hangers placed on homes throughout the area the week before the event.