Canoenucopia, or a pirogue of plenty

The “Rough Riders” from Boy Scout Troop 425 held their third annual “Scouting for Food” drive Tuesday evening, the lads filling up canoes with donated foodstuffs at the five Minot Marketplace Foods locations and Congregational United Church of Christ.

This year, the drive brought in 657 nonperishable items and $515 in donations. At last year’s drive they had raised around $780, but fewer nonperishables.

“A key pillar of what we try to teach the boys is community service,” said Kevin Mehrer, an executive with the Boy Scouts’ Tomahawk District. The food drive is one among the number of ways the district’s troops give back to the community through public service projects.

“If you want something, sometimes you have to give something back in return,” Troop 425 Scoutmaster George Smith elaborated, going on to explain that community comes second among the duties Scouts pledge themselves to in their oath.

“All the food and any monetary donations we receive will go to the Horn of Plenty,” said Smith, which is an outreach by radio station KHRT that provides needy families with care baskets during the Christmas season, each containing a week or two worth of food, new toys, and evangelistic materials.

“Horn of Plenty was extremely excited with what we collected,” he added. “Every little bit helps.”

The station’s manager, Roy Leavitt, explained that these families are recommended for the help by listeners and supporters of the campaign, which will kick off in mid-October. On average, the Horn of Plenty gets extended to 300 or 400 families each year, with goods and contributions coming from drives such as “Scouting for Food,” as well as from local donors and area businesses.

Troop 425’s drive marks a sort of pre-season start to the program’s activities. For those who may have missed last evening’s canoes and would be interested in contributing some food, Smith said “they can probably send it to the Congregational church” at 430 North Broadway. He suggested that monetary donations be sent directly to the Horn of Plenty.

“Every Boy Scouts troop and Cub Scouts pack is chartered by an organization,” Mehrer explained, describing Troop 425’s relationship with the church. Congregational United Church has been its sponsor since 2000.

“We’ve had a great partnership with them for the last 13 years,” Smith added. Prior to that the troop was chartered by North Hill Elementary School, now called Lewis and Clark.