NUTLEY, NJ — The recent 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 local Nutley Family Service Bureau office, formerly the Red Cross office, on Chestnut Street. As of this date 27,633 food items were collected, up 5,000 from the previous high 22,465 collected last year. That amounts to a 23 percent increase.
In 2013 the total was 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,” said Walt Smith, Pack 141 chairman and chairman of the project. “After topping 13,000 food items in 2013, I thought we reached our maximum potential, with last year’s incredible total of 22,465, but this year was amazing. The need this time of the year is especially great. We were able to reach this remarkable total because we now have more Scouts in Nutley than in previous years and a major effort was made to coordinate coverage of nearly all street in town. The Scouts would like to thank the Nutley community for generous donations to help those in need in our town,” said Smith.
“I want to congratulate each of the Boy Scout troops 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,” said Smith.
The organizing committee, in addition to Smith, included co-chair Monica Suarez; Cheryl Jiosi and Chris Treglio, leaders of Pack 142; Joanne Gola, Troop 147; Joann Kielblock, Pack 141; and Eileen Painter, executive director of the Nutley Family Service Bureau.
More than 100 Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts participated in the project.
“Nutley Family Service Bureau gathered an additional 100 volunteers to help at the collection site,” Eileen Painter. “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 close to 150 households for much of the year. We are thrilled to partner with the Nutley Scouts to fill the pantry.”
Individual collection totals were impressive. Boy Scout Troop 147 was led by Jake Shoemaker with 544 items, followed by Edward Greg at 491, Scott Bolton at 457 and the O’Halloran brothers at 499.
The younger Cub Scouts were led by Teddy Treglio of Pack 142 with a remarkable 981 items, followed by Alex Rodriguez and Foster Smith, both with more than 500. The Ballou brothers collected more than 700, as did Joe and Nicholas DelTufo. Pack 141 was let by David Crecco with 433 items, Matt and Andrew Richards with 871, the brothers Simon and John Tevletidis with 438, the Quinn brothers with 410, Daniel Kielblock with 416 and Ozman Sarigedik with 381.
One Nutley Boy Scout, Gabriel Camacho, now with Troop 36, collected 1,800 for the third year in a row.
“The efforts of individual Scouts has reached a whole new level,” said Smith. “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 March 17 when Scouts distribute bags to residences in Nutley. The Scouts return to residences on the following week, “Bag Collection Day,” to retrieve the bags filled with donated non-perishable items.
Within hours of the Scouts’ pickup, the donations were on delivery to the collection site at the former Ciccolini Brothers Store. Nutley Commissioner Mauro Tucci made arrangements for the Scouts and the pantry to drop off the food there. The pantry is temporarily at St. Paul’s church on Franklin Avenue while the Chestnut Street office of the Nutley Family Service Bureau is being renovated. Boy Scouts from Troops 147 coordinated the reception of food items at the building along with Painter, and more than 100 other volunteers and board members from the bureau.
Scouts were also outside Nutley Park ShopRite on March 24 to accept donations from residents. More than 1,200 items were donated there.
The food pantry at the 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 1 million Scouts collected an estimated 65 million cans of nonperishable food. This year marks the 33rd year of this national 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.