DAVIDSON —  In keeping with its mission of service, Mecklenburg County Council of the Boy Scouts of America spent the weekend gathering canned goods during the annual Loaves and Fishes Scouting for Food drive.

Members of the Hornets Nest District, which includes Huntersville, Davidson, Cornelius and north Charlotte Boy Scouts, rounded up 23,736 pounds of food at the Ada Jenkins Center and 14,816 pounds at the Huntersville United Methodist Church drop-off locations.

The food is distributed to 19 food pantries in the county. Loaves and Fishes provides a week’s supply of free groceries at no cost to individuals and families going through a crisis. Food collection continues at Mecklenburg County Harris Teeter stores through Feb. 9.

“This is a major collection for Loaves and Fishes,” said Ben Yarborough, assistant scoutmaster for Troop 58 in Davidson. “They get more from this than anything else.”

Scouts distributed brown paper bags to residents last week before retrieving them Feb. 1 and 2. They collaborated collecting the bags and bringing them to the drop-off stations, where they were weighed, recorded and then sorted. Among the items gathered were pasta, dry goods and canned food, including meat, fruit and vegetables.

Sean Fos, lodge chief for the Order of the Arrow Boy Scout national honor society, said it takes lots of patience to organize the collection effort and make sure everything is running smoothly. 

“It’s the sheer quantity,” Fos said of the importance of the food drive. “Even a little bit helps someone, but this helps so many people,”

Brian Mayes, of Troop 42, also helped organize the effort. Mayes is working on getting a life rank and used it as an opportunity to lead a service project in preparation for his Eagle award.

“This is a big deal,” Mayes said of the collection drive. “I felt it needed to get done. It helps the community. Not a lot of people have a lot, but a little bit of help will help someone every day.”

Last year’s efforts garnered 264,000 pounds of food countywide. Loaves and Fishes, a nondenominational organization working to counter the county’s growing hunger problem, was able to provide groceries to more than 100,000 people.