After shutting down last year due to Covid-19, on Saturday, May 1 the local Boy Scout troop and Cub Scout packs will be conducting their annual food drive for the Nutley Food Pantry, which is at the Nutley Family Service Bureau Annex, 169 Chestnut Street in Nutley.  Personal care items for the care pantry at Vincent United Methodist Church will be 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/cold cereal, coffee, tea, and baby formula/food.  The pantry accepts all non-perishable groceries, but not expired cans, so please 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 over 310 families including many children and seniors.  Over 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 over 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”, stated Smith

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 in 2019.

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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, please call 973-931-2686, The Scouts will be depositing the collected bags at Nutley Masonic  Lodge 175 Chestnut Street on May 1, between 10:30 AM and 3 PM.   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 Street.

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 Troops 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.” stated Katherine Carmichael, Executive Director of the Nutley Family Service Bureau.   We’d like to remind Nutley residents that participation in the program is confidential. Qualification is on a case by case basis. We encourage those who are in need of food assistance to reach out and speak to a staff member at 973-667-1884 or read more about the program on our website 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.”

Across the country, in many councils and districts, thousands of troops and packs with millions of scouts involved collect tens of millions of pounds of food which is distributed to needy neighbors.  Scouting for Food is the nation's largest one-day food drive, raising 15 percent of area food pantries' yearly supply and feeding the hungry in the community for three months.  The Nutley Scouting for Food effort supplies more than 80% of the food for the entire year for the Nutley Pantry.

Every time a Cub Scouts recites the Cub 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.