Cub Scout Pack 263 in New Providence, NJ has been busy this year helping others in their community. The Salt Brook School students in first through fifth grade have participated in various community service projects ranging from the town-wide food drive, to supporting runners in the Education Foundation’s 5K event, to building, painting and donating hundreds of toys and decorations over the holidays.
Community Service has always been the cornerstone of the scouting experience and these boys epitomize that service spirit. Under the direction of CubMaster Don Burkitt, the scouts in Pack 263 continue to make a positive impact in New Providence and surrounding towns.
This past October, scouts volunteered their time to help support runners in the NPEF’s 5K for Education. Scouts either registered to run in the race or helped to hand out water at various hydration stations along the route. Proceeds from the NPEF’s 5K event went toward funding teacher grants and purchases for education in all four New Providence public schools.
In November, Pack 263 joined with other Cub Scout Packs and both Boy Scout Troops in town to collect food donations for local families and food pantries. The boys give their time and energy on two weekends to make this event such a success. First, they hand-deliver food donation bags to residents throughout town. Then, the following week, they collect those filled bags of food and other necessities from residents’ doorsteps and deliver them to the Faith Lutheran Church for sorting. The boys work all day sorting food for final delivery to local families in need as well as stocking the shelves at the Starfish Food Pantry in Plainfield. Approximately $36,700 in non-perishable items were donated, which will keep the shelves stocked for six months for those in need.
The holiday season brought the scouts of Pack 263 together again building and painting toys and decorations to give to children and local businesses in the community. Multiple local Home Depot stores donated wooden kits for the scouts to build and paint during a pack meeting. One store manager, Rob Levy in the Linden Home Depot, heard about the intended use for the projects and not only donated kits, but personally purchased and donated all of the paint brushes for the scouts to use, as well.
Once completed, the finished projects were donated to various organizations in the community. Over 50 wooden candy dishes were donated to New Providence small businesses who routinely support the community as a thank you for their efforts. Painted wooden sled decorations were delivered to the local senior housing apartments to brighten the doors of their residences. The recipients enjoyed meeting the scouts and were so grateful for the time and effort the scouts put into making them. Toys like fire trucks, helicopters and skateboards were donated to the Berkeley Heights YMCA’s Angel Tree, which donated to local children in need. And finished white boards and craft kits were donated to the Specialized Children’s Hospital in Mountainside so children could open gifts and stay busy while receiving care.
These young scouts have embodied the spirit of community service and caring for others with their efforts. They show that, while scouting is definitely about the fun of camping and friendship, the greater gifts of giving and service have far-reaching and long-lasting effects on both the boys who participate and the community as a whole.