FREEPORT, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Each year, Maine's boy scouts take to the streets of their own towns for the annual Scouting for Food event.

They team up with Dead River Company and other local sponsors to collect nonperishable food items for their local food pantries.

It all starts with a knock, then a plea: “Would you like to donate nonperishable food items to help the Freeport Community Center?”

“It gives you a good feeling on the inside to know that you're helping people who otherwise, without your help, would not be eating,” 12-year-old scout Gabe Bean said.

Gabe and his friend Leo have been a part of the annual tradition for about five years.

“My favorite part is that I get to help people in need," Leo Sparta said. "And I also get to have some fun while I'm doing it, too."

The boys said the generosity of their neighbors and the stories they hear make the day worthwhile.

“I really enjoy seeing people go into memory mode,” Leo said. “Like, when some people remember doing this when they were kids.”

At just ages 10 and 12, they're already putting in the hours to get everyone in their community fed this holiday season.

“I think that, no matter what age you are, you can help your community,” Leo said.

Gabe and Leo said the Pine Tree Council, which covers just part of the state's boy scouts, will bring in over 25 tons of food.

The Freeport team alone brought in over 5,700 pounds.