If you're feeling pessimistic about humanity, read this. Just last week, more than 90 young boy scouts in Nutley broke a record when they collected a mountain of donated foods by running around the town, gathering all the donated items from giving families, and then readying them for distribution at the local food pantry.
The recent massive food drive conducted by the Nutley Boy Scout Troop 147 and Cub Scout Packs 141 and 142 saw a record collection for the Nutley Food Pantry housed at the Nutley Family Service Bureau office on Chestnut Street. As of this date, 44,147 food items were collected up over 10,000 from the previous high 34,065 collected two years ago. That amounts to a 30 percent increase. In 2013 the total was just 10,653. The project in Nutley began in 2006 and 2007 is the first year of recording the totals with 3405 items collected.
“This was an exhausting day, but a great way to teach the Scouts, especially the young Cub Scouts the meaning of helping others”, stated former Commissioner Walt Smith, Pack 141 Chairman and chairman of the project. “After toping 13,000 food items in 2013, I thought we reached our maximum potential, with 2019’s incredible total of 34,065 but this year was amazing. They need this time of the year is especially great. ” “We were able to reach this remarkable total because our Scouts in Nutley worked extra hard to try to deliver a bag to every house. A major effort was made to coordinate coverage of all streets in town”, continued Smith . “The Scouts would like to thank the Nutley community for generous donations to help those in need in our town”, said Smith. “The post-pandemic response from the community was fantastic”.
“I want to congratulate each of the Boy Scout Troop and Cub Scout Packs for their leadership in organizing their respective group to make the project a tremendous success and to the many Nutley Family Service Bureau volunteers for their valuable help at the Pantry”, stated Smith. The organizing committee, in addition to Smith, included Co-chair Monica Suarez, Marisa Treglio, Cheryl Jiosi, Jose Raboy leaders of Pack 142, Eric Buset Troop 147, Joann Kielblock Pack 141 and Katherine Carmichael , Executive Director of the Nutley Family Service Bureau and Peggy Conca, Manager of the Food Pantry. Dan Lukowiak and several members of Nutley Mason’s Lodge #25 helped organize the collection effort on May 1.
More than 90 Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts participated in the project. “Nutley Family Service Bureau gathered many additional volunteers to help at the collection site”, stated Katherine Carmichael, Executive Director of the Bureau. “The day would not have been such a big success without the volunteer’s enthusiastic help. All those items will support the Food Pantry and the more than 350 households for much of the year. We are thrilled to partner with the Nutley Scouts to fill the pantry”, continued Carmichael.
“We are tremendously grateful for the continued support that the Nutley Scouts and community members provide to programs like the Nutley Family Service Bureau’s Food Pantry. The Food Pantry relies on donations from this project to stock our shelves. Year after year the Scouts and those who donate help to keep the pantry going to support our neighbors in need.” stated Katherine Carmichael, Executive Director of the Nutley Family Service Bureau. We’d like to remind Nutley residents that participation in the program is confidential. Qualification is on a case-by-case basis. We encourage those who are in need of food assistance to reach out and speak to a staff member at 973-667-1884 or read more about the program on our website at www.nutleyfamily.org.
Boy Scout troop 147 was led by Jeffrey Quinn at 1143, and Ethen Wanko at 1142. The younger Cub Scouts were led by Joseph Duarte with 1009 and Jolie Perez with 836. Pack 141 was let by Grayson Alvarez with 1118 followed by Luke Donahue with 1095. The Tevletidis brothers had 1852, the Richards’ brothers 1361 and the Crumrine brothers 1163. “The efforts of individual Scouts has reached a whole new level Smith added “We are proud of every single Scout for their effort in helping our residents in need”.
The campaign was launched on "Bag Distribution Day" the weekend of April 24 when Scouts distribute bags to residences in Nutley. The committee counted the number of houses on every street, and then assigned a Scout to each of the 8,600 homes to drop off a bag. The Scouts returned to the residences on the following week, "Bag Collection Day," to retrieve the bags filled with donated non-perishable items. Trader Joe’s donated all of the bags.
The donations were on deliver to the collection site at Nutley Mason’s Lodge on Chestnut Street. Many of the bags of food are being stored at the Township Annex on Bloomfield Ave. Dozens of volunteers are working every day to transport the huge inventory to the food pantry on Chestnut Street. Some items will be temporally be stored at other locations. Boy Scouts from Troops 147 coordinated the reception of food items at the building along with Scout leader Monica Suarez and Peggy Conca, Food Pantry Manager of the Nutley Family Service Bureau and over 100 other volunteers and Board Members from the Bureau.
Scouts were also outside Nutley Park ShopRite on May 1 to accept donations from residents. Over 1,000 items were donated there.
The food pantry at the Nutley Family Service Bureau in Nutley is one of the largest in Essex County.
Scouting for Food is the nation’s largest single-day food drive. Scouting for Food began as a service project for the St. Louis Area Council in 1985 and was adopted by the National Organization in 1988 when one million Scouts collected an estimated 65 million cans of nonperishable food. This year marks the 34th year of this great event. Every year, thousands of scouts and adult volunteers spend two Saturdays doing a “good turn.”
Across the country, in many councils and districts, thousands of troops and packs with thousands of scouts involved collect tens of millions of pounds of food which is distributed to needy neighbors. Scouting for Food is the nation's largest one-day food drive, raising 30 percent of area food pantries' yearly supply and feeding the hungry in the community for over four months.
Every time a Cub Scout recites the Cub Scout pledge he promises to help others and in the Boy Scout Promise, a boy scout promises to help other people at all times. By participating in a Scouting for Food program, scouts get a step closer to fulfilling those words.