WO Boy Scout collects donations for Newark food pantry

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WEST ORANGE, NJ — Boy Scout Troop 6’s food drive culminated with its recent food donation to the pantry at St. James AME Church in Newark. The drive, a brainstorm of Eagle Scout candidate Logan Schustermann, helped to provide much needed food for the summer months to the organization.

“We can’t do what we do without concerned citizens in the community. We are grateful for the spirit of volunteerism,” Vesta Godwin Clark, executive director of St. James social services, said.

The drive consisted of multiple days of delivering fliers to various parts of West Orange, followed up with Scouts from the troop collecting donations set aside by residents. The complexity of the project also encompassed donations from students in the elementary school, as well as by the ROTC program at West Orange High School. Another aspect of the drive involved the Scout Troop working in the West Orange ShopRite as baggers. The money earned was in turn spent on additional foods for the drive.

The food pantry receives monies from the state of New Jersey monthly. According to Nicole Jeffries, St. James administrative assistant, the monies spent on food does not cover the needs of the community, and donations are a vital part of the operations to help meet the total needs. Clark added that since 2008 the amount of clients visiting St. James has tripled. The pantry is located at 604 Martin Luther King Boulevard in Newark and can be reached at 973-624-4007.

“I am grateful that the project was such a success and overwhelmed by the generosity by the community that I live in. I am happy that we were able to add to the stockpile that is particularly short in the summer months, and am looking forward to volunteering my time at St. James in the future,” Schustermann said.

Boy Scout Troop 6 of West Orange, has been a staple of the West Orange community for almost 60 years. Boys, ranging in age from 11 to 18, in the Scouting program participate in three specific objectives, commonly referred to as the “Aims of Scouting”: character development, citizenship training and personal fitness. Eagle Scout is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scout program. Fewer than 1 percent of all boys attain this rank.

Boy Scout Troop 6 meets every Friday night at 7:15 p.m. during the school year at Hazel Elementary school. All boys interested in joining are welcome to come to a meeting.