Founder of Scouting For Food 'overwhelmed and humbled' by St. Louis tradition


ST. LOUIS ( -- News 4 has a different approach this year to remind viewers to leave out their Scouting For Food bag for the Boy Scouts Saturday morning.

News 4 tracked down the scout who started this St. Louis tradition more than 30 years ago and we were surprised he had no idea how big of an event it now is.

Scouting for food is a long-standing tradition in the city. These days, it’s the largest single-day food-drive in the Boy Scouts of America, something that blew away John Zangas, the founder of the event.

"I had no idea someone picked up the ball with it and ran with it to the extent they had," he said.

Zangas now lives outside Cleveland, Ohio. he told us when was 17 years old, he came up with the project as he worked to become an eagle scout.

"One Saturday we distributed flyers asking houses to leave canned goods on doorsteps next week," he said.

Hence the tradition now of leaving a plastic bag at your door one Saturday, then coming back a week later to pick up a bag full of food.

"I remember being ecstatic about the amount of food we collected, two car loads," Zangas recalls of his first Scouting For Food drive.

Today, more than 30,000 scouts and their parents collect about 2,000,000 food items every November.

“It's really overwhelming and humbling," Zangas, who is now scoutmaster for his sons’ troop, said. "Don't give up, soldier on, persevere through the hard work to get it done. you won't know how much impact you have, how much your work and project will give back to the community."

Don't forget to put out your bag of non-perishable food items Friday night or first thing Saturday morning.

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