In what may be the largest-ever one-day event to benefit the Watertown Food Pantry, scouts on Saturday collected $10,000 worth of food at the Watertown Street Stop & Shop.
That’s twice what was collected last year in the annual event called Scouting for Food.
“I’m overwhelmed by the effort of all the boys and girls in the scouts,” said Kathleen Cunningham, Watertown Food Pantry Coordinator. “It’s amazing that all those parents and leaders make this work possible.”
Pack 30, with scouts age 5-10, and Troop 30, with scouts age 10-17, come together every year to collect donations for the Watertown Food Pantry. Last year, 200 bags of groceries were collected from Stop & Shop customers at 171 Watertown Street.
The this year, the response from Stop & Shop customers was so great, scouts needed to change how they collect goods. Twice they filled up a Boy Scout Troop 30’s trailer, collecting 400 cubic feet of food six hours.
Scouts provided a shopping list for store customers to donate items needed most by clients of the food pantry — peanut butter, rice, beans, jams and pastas – to fill the pantry’s shelves. Customers handed items over to other scouts in charge of thanking customers. Then Webelos and Bear Scouts ran full shopping carts of canned goods to the sidewalk outdoors, where cans of cranberries, peas, beans and tomato sauce were sorted and packed in the Troop 30 trailer. The trailer was filled twice with a total of 400 cubic feet of food in the six hours scouts collected food.
Tiger Scout Jeremiah Rios said of all the jobs the scouts did, it was most fun sorting the food that was donated by Stop & Shop customers. He reported that while peanut butter was the most popular item, the grape jelly looked the most delicious.
When customers opted to give cash, those donations were turned into personal hygiene items like shampoo, soap and deodorant. When customers wanted to fuel scouts and their good work, they gave them chocolate and bags of Doritos.
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 10-17, complete larger projects in service to veterans and the community.
BSA trains boys and girls in citizenship, conservation, 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. Both the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts share a home with the Food Pantry in the Watertown-Belmont UMC at 80 Mt. Auburn Street.