NUTLEY, NJ — After a record collection in 2021, Nutley Boy Scout troop 147 and Cub Scout packs 141 and 142 will conduct their annual food drive for the Nutley Food Pantry, which is at the Nutley Family Service Bureau Annex, 169 Chestnut St. in Nutley, on Saturday, April 30. Personal care items for the care pantry at Vincent United Methodist Church will also be accepted. Some suggestions for shelf-stable food donations are: stew, chili, hash, tuna, soups, chunky soups, pasta, pasta sauce, rice, macaroni and cheese, canned vegetables, canned fruit, peanut butter, jelly, hot/cold cereal, coffee, tea, and baby formula/food — and even grocery store gift cards. The pantry accepts all nonperishable groceries, but not expired cans. Cans and plastic jars are easier to handle than glass jars.
The need this time of the year is especially great. During March the local pantry served more than 350 families and nearly 1,000 people, including many children and seniors. More than 3,500 food items were required. The food pantry at the Nutley Family Service Bureau is one of the largest in Essex County. In 2021, Nutley Scouts collected more than 44,000 items for the food pantry, according to former Commissioner Walt Smith, Pack 141 and project chairperson.
“This is always an exhausting day, but a great way to teach the Scouts, especially the young Cub Scouts, the meaning of helping others,” Smith said.
The project has grown from collecting 3,405 items in 2007 to 10,653 in 2013 to 17,475 in 2016, 22,425 in 2017, 27,745 in 2018, 34,046 in 2019 and 44,465 in 2021.
The campaign will be launched on “Bag Distribution Day” the weekend of April 23, 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 nonperishable items. If you do not receive a bag, call 973-931-2686. The Scouts will be depositing the collected bags at Nutley Masonic Lodge No. 175 on Chestnut Street on May 1 between 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Trader Joe’s donated all of the bags for use in the drive. After Saturday, April 30, donations may be dropped off at the Nutley Family Service Bureau Annex.
Scouts will also be outside Nutley Park ShopRite on April 30 to accept donations from residents. ShopRite is a major supporter of the event.
“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,” NFSB Executive Director Katherine Carmichael said.
Participation in the food pantry program is confidential; qualification is on a case-by-case basis. Those who are in need of food assistance should reach out and speak to a staff member at 973-667-1884 or read more about the program at www.nutleyfamily.org.
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.”
Every time a Cub Scout recites the 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.