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ST. LOUIS – Thousands of Boy Scouts around St. Louis were busy over the weekend tying blue plastic bags to collect canned goods to feed the needy.

The McGroarty family braved Saturday morning’s cold temperatures to distribute and tie more than 500 bags within the Central West End area.

“It’s for a good cause,” said Patrick McGroarty.

The 11-year-old is one of thousands of Scouts throughout St. Louis, southeast Missouri and southern Illinois collecting approximately 2 million donated food items during Scouting For Food drive.

His mom and dad said it’s a teaching moment for their children on how and why they should help give back to their communities.

“It’s important for us to do what we can do to help collect food to give to those who are less fortunate than we are,” said Sean McGroarty.

With the help of the St. Louis University students of Alpha Phi Omega and MERS Missouri Goodwill, the Scouts’, for the 34th year in a row are making their goal to tie one million bags to front door handles.

The food is delivered to a network of about 500 food pantries around the region and provides more than 1 million meals annually for families in need.

“I know the food pantry, I’ve been out there before,” said scoutmaster, Paul Winter, The boxes we collect will go five months, six months for them to use to distribute it to the area over time and that’s a huge contribution to the area for food.”

The scouts including the McGroarty family will come back next weekend to pick up the blue bags and take the donated goods to a local food bank.

“A little bit of hard work can go a long way in feeding some hungry people,” Mr. McGroarty.

Residents who do not receive a bag can take canned food donations to any Goodwill store location November 18-24.

For more information about Scouting For Food, visit