Scouting for Food scheduled for May 1 in Nutley

NUTLEY, NJ — After shutting down last year due to COVID-19, the Nutley Boy Scout troop and Cub Scout packs have revived their annual food drive for the Nutley Food Pantry, which is at the Nutley Family Service Bureau Annex, 169 Chestnut St. in Nutley. Personal care items for the care pantry at Vincent United Methodist Church will also be accepted at the food drive, which will be held Saturday, May 1. Some suggestions for 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. The pantry accepts all nonperishable groceries, but not expired cans, so donors should check expiration dates before donating items. Cans and plastic jars are easier to handle than glass jars.

The need this time of the year is especially great. During February, the local pantry served more than 310 families, including many children and seniors. More than 3,000 food items were required. The food pantry at the Family Service Bureau in Nutley is one of the largest in Essex County. In 2019, Nutley Scouts collected more than 34,000 items for the food pantry, according to former Commissioner Walt Smith, Pack 141 chairperson, who heads the project. 

“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. “We hope every resident in Nutley will try to participate.”

The project has grown from collecting 3,405 items in 2007, to 10,653 in 2013; 17,475 in 2016; 22,425 in 2017; 27,745 in 2018; and 34,046 in 2019.

The campaign will be launched on “Bag Distribution Day,” the weekend of April 24, 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 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, May 1, donations may be dropped off at the Nutley Family Service Bureau Annex, 169 Chestnut St.

Scouts will also be outside Nutley Park ShopRite on May 1 to accept donations from residents. Cub Scout Packs 141 and 142, along with Boy Scout Troop 147, will be participating. 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 are encouraged to reach out and speak to an NFSB staff member at 973-667-1884 or read more about the program at