Scouting for Food 2007

 

Written by Ileen Kennedy

Published May 9, 2007

 

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Elk Ridge Middle School in South Jordan is one of the statewide drop locations set up to collect food donations.

Photo by Ileen Kennedy

Elk Ridge Middle School in South Jordan is one of the

statewide drop locations set up to collect food donations.

SALT LAKE CITY — Scouting for Food is a joint undertaking between Utah National Guard (UTNG) Soldiers and Airmen, Boy Scouts from all three scout councils, statewide food bank personnel and community volunteers. It takes months of preparation and statewide resources to accomplish, but in the end food banks across the state receive much-needed food to feed Utah’s hungry.

This year the Community Services Council Warehouse in Salt Lake City collected 603,070 lbs. of food, the Community Action Warehouse in Provo collected 642,790 lbs. and the Catholic Community Services, Airman’s Attic and Family Connection in Ogden and Layton, collected 626,540 lbs.

The UTNG sent more than 115 Soldiers and Airmen, 25 trucks, three forklifts and opened multiple armories to support the food drive.

"Even though so many of our Soldiers have been deployed, its important that we still participate in community service," said SFC Vicky Dixon, accounting supervisor, who has been supporting Scouting for Food for 17 years.

In addition to bringing in tons of food for Utah food bank shelves, the food drive gives an opportunity for communities to work together.

One of the collateral training benefits of this operation is to provide the UTNG an opportunity to exercise a communications system that could be used in a natural disaster or civil emergency. In the event of an incident of this type, communications are critical to saving lives and restoring order. Civilian volunteer radio operators both those of the Military Affiliate Radio System and other FCC-licensed amateur radio operators, could be a vital asset in the event of this type of emergency.

The UTNG communications control center sets up a mobile command post outside the Community Services Council Warehouse, while inside the warehouse amateur radio operators work together keeping the workflow running smoothly at each drop location.

"This year we did a three-county area, branching out from the Great Salt Lake Council to include the Trapper Trails and Utah National Parks Councils in our communications," said LTC Charles Dressen. "We field tested the OMNI network where the Guard and State tie into emergency communications networks. It ran excellently."

With emergency communications capabilities, the bridge between the military and civilian sectors was patched together successfully and can be up and running in a moment’s notice in case of a natural disaster or civil emergency.

Soldiers, Airmen, Boy Scouts and volunteers work together at the Salt Lake Community Services Council Warehouse collecting food donations.

Photo by Ileen Kennedy

Soldiers, Airmen, Boy Scouts and volunteers work together at the Salt Lake Community Services Council Warehouse collecting food donations.