NUTLEY, NJ — The massive food drive conducted by Nutley Boy Scout Troop 147 and Cub Scout Packs 141 and 142 at the end of April saw a huge collection for the Nutley food pantry housed at the Nutley Family Service Bureau office on Chestnut Street. According to organizers, 35,716 food items were collected. In 2013 the total was just 10,653. The project in Nutley began in 2006, and 2007 was the first year of recording the totals, with 3,405 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 former Commissioner Walt Smith, Pack 141 chairperson and project co-chairperson. “After topping 13,000 food items in 2013, I thought we had reached our maximum potential with 2019’s incredible total of 34,065 — but this year was amazing. The 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,” Smith continued. “The Scouts would like to thank the Nutley community for generous donations to help those in need in our town. The response from the community was fantastic.”
Smith thanked the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts for all their hard work, as well as the NFSB volunteers who supported them. The organizing committee, in addition to Smith, included co-Chairperson Monica Suarez, Pack 142 leaders Marisa Treglio and Cheryl Jiosi, Matt Barone from Pack 141, Joann Kielblock from Troop 147, NFSB Executive Director Katherine Carmichael, and food pantry manager Peggy Conca. Dan Lukowiak and several members of Nutley Masonic Lodge No. 25 helped organize the collection effort on April 30.
“Nutley Family Service Bureau gathered many additional volunteers to help at the collection site,” Carmichael said. “The day would not have been such a big success without the volunteers’ enthusiastic help. All those items will support the food pantry and the more than 350 households with canned goods and dry goods for most of the year. We are thrilled to partner with the Nutley Scouts to fill the pantry.
“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,” she continued.
Participation in the NFSB food pantry program is confidential; qualification is on a case-by-case basis. For food assistance, call 973-667-1884 or visit www.nutleyfamily.org.
Boy Scout Troop 147 was led in donations by Daniel Kielblock with 1,118 items, followed by Anthony Rodier with 750. The younger Cub Scouts from Pack 142 were led by Joseph Duarte with 624 items and Owen Ness with 527. Pack 141 was led by Grayson Alvarez with 1,081 items, followed by Anthony Barylski with 908. The Crumrine brothers collected 976 items.
“The efforts of individual Scouts have reached a whole new level,” Smith said. “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 23 when Scouts distributed bags to residences in Nutley. The committee counted the number of houses on every street, and then assigned Scouts to each of the 8,900 homes to drop off the bags. The Scouts returned to the residences on the following week, Bag Collection Day, to retrieve the bags filled with donated nonperishable items. Trader Joe’s donated all of the bags.
The donations were delivered to the collection site on Chestnut Street. Cub Scouts were also outside Nutley Park ShopRite on April 30 to accept donations from residents; more than 1,000 items were donated there.
Photos Courtesy of Nutley Family Service Bureau