What does the generosity of Watertown residents look like when combined with the hard work from scouts? It looks like 200 bags of groceries for families in need in Watertown.
This was truly a group effort. Boy Scouts from Troop 30 teamed up with Cub Scouts from Pack 30 to participate in Scouting for Food, a nationwide program of the BSA. Working with Stop & Shop at 171 Watertown St., scouts asked store customers to donate items needed most by clients of the food pantry — peanut butter, rice, beans, jams and cleaning supplies — to fill the pantry’s shelves.
“We are so grateful for the contribution from the scouts,” Kathleen Cunningham, Watertown Food Pantry Director, said. She noted the bags of groceries averaged 21 pounds each. “The hard work and commitment they supply to the pantry of food and service is overwhelming. We are so grateful for the continued support of the Boy Scouts. The amount of food and personal products they have collected in just one day surpasses any amount we can imagine. Their donation will allow us to help our clients for many months to come, and allow us to use our financial donations to
continue to provide fresh fruit and vegetables to our clients.”
Customers were given a shopping list created by Boy Scout Michael McNamara to use in the store. The result was amazing — families dropped off full shopping carts, couples dropped off full bags of groceries, and others gave cash so it could be used to get what was needed most.
Boy Scoutmaster Chris DeRocher used cash to get cleaning supplies that are always needed but hard to find at food banks — $368.50 worth.
Store customer Sammy Davis said he was celebrating and filled his shopping cart for the scouts.
“I just hit on a scratch ticket, “ he said, after handing over a flat of peanut butter, boxes of Cheerios, crackers and other items. “I want to help out and this is great.”
A few customers even wanted to support the scouts in what they were doing, buying them cupcakes to keep them going.
Troop 30 organizes a Scouting for Food drive every year with the help of Stop & Shop. Last year, scouts collected 126 bags of groceries to serve those in need in Watertown. Hoping to meet that same target, scouts organized the six-hour drive at the store. By 1 p.m., the target was surpassed and the Troop 30 trailer — usually packed full of camping gear for outdoor adventures – was nearly full of shelf-stable items.
Scouting for Food is just one of the community service projects scouts take on. Cub Scouts, age 5-10, clean trails, write letters to veterans and serve as an honor guard for local events. Boy Scouts, age 10-18, take on larger projects to earn merit badges – including two from Troop 30 who are regular volunteers at the Watertown Food Pantry.
BSA trains boys and girls in responsible citizenship, character development, and self-reliance through participation in a wide range of outdoor activities, educational programs, and, at older age levels, career-oriented programs in partnership with community organizations.