NUTLEY, NJ — On Saturday, March 21, local Boy Scout troop and Cub Scout packs 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. Personal care items for the care pantry at Vincent United Methodist Church will also be accepted.
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 and cold cereals, coffee, tea, and baby formula and baby food. The pantry accepts all non-perishable groceries, but not expired cans; 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 220 families, including nearly 150 children. 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. Last year, Nutley Scouts collected more than 34,000 items for the food pantry, according to former Commissioner Walt Smith, Pack 141 chairman and chairman of 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.
The project has grown from collecting 3,405 items in 2007 to 10,653 in 2013, to 17,475 in 2016, to 22,425 in 2017, to 27,745 in 2018, and 34,046 last year.
The campaign will be launched on “Bag Distribution Day” the weekend of March 14 when Scouts distribute bags to residences in Nutley. The Scouts return to residences 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. Donations may also be dropped off at Franklin Reformed Church, 45 Hillside Crescent in Nutley, on Monday, March 30, between 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Trader Joe’s donated all of the bags for use in the drive.
After Saturday, March 21, donations may be dropped off at the Nutley Family Service Bureau Annex, 169 Chestnut St.
Scouts will also be outside Nutley Park ShopRite on March 21 to accept donations from residents. Cub Scout Packs 141 and 142, along with Boy Scout Troops 147, will be participating.
“We are tremendously grateful for the continued support that the Nutley Scouts and community members provide to programs like the NFSB Food Pantry. The Food Pantry has been relying on donations from this project to stock the shelves. Year after year the Scouts and those who donate help to keep it going,” said Eileen Painter, executive director of the Nutley Family Service Bureau.
Participation in the 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 a staff member at 973-667-1884 or read more about the program online at www.nutleyfamily.org.