Want Amid Plenty


  • Janet Poppendieck






"Scouting has some unacceptables," the Executive Direcor of the Jersey Shore Council of the Boy Scouts of America told me, "and one of them is hunger." We were talking in the entrance to the Ciba Geigy company cafeteria in Toms River, New Jersey, where several hundred Boy Scouts, their parents, grandparents, siblings, and neighbors were sorting and packing the 280,000 pounds of canned goods that the scouts of this Council had netted in their 1994 Scouting For Food drive. The food would be stored on the Ciba Geigy corporate campus, where downsizing had left a number of buildings empty, and redistributed to local food pantries to be passed along to the hungry. The scouting executive was one of several hundred people I interviewed as part of a study of charitable food programs—so called "emergency food"—in the United States. In the years since the early 1980s, literally millions of Americans have been drawn into such projects: soup kitchens and food panries on the front lines, and canned goods drives, food banks, and "food rescue" projects that supply them.

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