Healthy Food Donations Encouraged with ‘Food Drive 5’

Beyond Health, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts team up for annual October Food Drive  

A collaborative of community health-minded organizations is joining forces with the Boy Scouts of America, Bay-Lakes Council to promote healthy donations during the upcoming Scouting for Food food drive.

Beyond Health, an extension of the 2012-15 Brown County Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP), is working with the scouts to promote the “Food Drive 5,” a toolkit designed to inform individuals and organizations about the importance of donating healthful food. The Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes have joined their scouting counterparts in promoting and collecting food for this year’s event.

Local scouts will begin distributing food collection bags to area homes Saturday, Oct. 8, to be picked up Saturday, Oct. 15. Homes that do not receive bags are welcome to donate at area Festival Foods locations. No matter where individuals donate, organizers are asking them to give items included in the Food Drive 5:
• Protein foods: Peanut butter, nuts, canned seafood and poultry
• Fruit: Packed in juice, dried or sauced (low-sugar)
• Low-sodium soups with protein and vegetables
• Whole grain cereal, crackers and pasta
• Colorful canned vegetables

“We know there are people in our community who rely mostly or entirely on food pantries to feed their families,” said Karen Early, Nutrition Education Program Coordinator for the Brown County UW-Extension. “Our goal is to give people who donate food an easy-to-remember framework for ensuring their generous gifts are as healthy as they can be.”

Many individuals who rely on food pantries have special dietary restrictions due to health conditions such hypertension, diabetes and gluten intolerance, Early added. Pantries are doing what they can to accommodate these dietary needs, and individuals who donate can help when they remember the Food Drive 5.

In Brown County, household food pantry utilization increased 31 percent between 2009 and 2014. The number of children receiving pantry food increased by 15 percent during this timeframe, and one in four Brown County Children currently lives in poverty.

As families increasingly depend on donated foods for a greater share of their nutritional needs, the quality of those foods becomes more important, Early said. Local research has shown that one-third of all donated pantry food is of low nutritional value, damaged or severely outdated. Beyond Health will monitor this year’s Scouting for Food donations to assess whether the Food Drive 5 message is making a difference.

Food donors and drive organizers are encouraged to check out the Food Drive 5 Toolkit and other resources on the Brown County UW-Extension Wisconsin Nutrition Education Program (WNEP) website for more information. For information on Scouting visit