Second BSA Scout food drive fills Watertown Food Pantry shelves

Scouts collected 2.5 tons of food for the food pantry this past November, but both the Coronavirus pandemic and the resulting unemployment in Watertown has hit our community hard. At the November drive Kathleen Cunningham, Director of the Watertown Food Pantry made an unusual request: Could another food drive be held soon?

Scouting for Food is a service project the BSA Scouts have participated in for years: Supporting a local food pantry, scouts across the U.S. collect food once a year, usually around Thanksgiving when many are feeling generous.

Scouting for Food in Watertown is a tradition near to the scouts’ hearts: Both the Watertown Food Pantry and the scouts call the Watertown-Belmont United Methodist Church at 80 Mt. Auburn Street home.

The answer to Cunningham’s question was yes, and March 20, scouts from Troop 30 (age 10-17) and Pack 30 (age 5-10) responded, collecting 5186 pounds of groceries, cleaning supplies and personal items from Watertown neighbors. 

Of particular note was the Bear Den of Pack 30, a group of third graders who together collected 1,500 pounds of food that had to be delivered to the Food Pantry in several cars and one pickup truck. 

The individual scout who collected the heaviest load of donations was Webelos Scout Xavier Owens, who collected 814.7 pounds of food. 

“The extraordinary team of scouts and leaders is overwhelming. The Watertown Food Pantry is truly proud to partner with this team,” said Cunningham. “When support is needed they really know how to get a job done!”

For those who missed the food drive, the Watertown Food Pantry is open Tuesdays for donations (9 a.m. – 2 p.m.) and for services (10 a.m. – 2 p.m.)

Scouts collect food for Watertown Food Pantry March 20

The 2.5 tons of food collected by scouts in November has gone to meet an unprecedented need in our community, so scouts are asking you again to help.
March 20, 12:30-3, scouts are collecting shelf-stable food items for the Watertown Food Pantry at 80 Mt. Auburn Street. 

Scouting for Food has become a tradition for Scouts in Watertown. Both Troop 30 (age 10-17) and Pack 30 (age 5-10) scouts have made the food drive part of their Thanksgiving tradition, collecting enough food that it’s measured in tons. With the need so great in our community this year, Watertown Food Pantry Director Kathleen Cunningham made the unusual request for a second drive this year.

Scouts are stepping up to the challenge, and will be on hand at 80 Mt. Auburn Street to collect groceries from the driveway of the church. 

For those who need a contactless option, scouts are also flyering their own neighborhoods. On the morning of the drive, they will pick up cans and boxes from doorsteps around Watertown to get them to the Watertown Food Pantry. 

What’s appropriate for the food pantry? Brand name canned and boxed items are always needed. The most popular item is instant rice, followed by soups. Federal food programs do not subsidize hygiene items like toothpaste, deodorant and shampoo, so finding those at the Watertown Food Pantry can be a bonus for its clients. 
Whatever you can offer will go directly to the Watertown families serviced by the food pantry.

Didn’t get a flyer from a scout? Make sure scouts will come to you. Contact watertowntroop30@gmail.com to arrange a pickup of items for the Watertown Food Pantry.

Boys and Girls cross over from Cub Scouts to join Troop 30

It was a chilly evening, but the Webelos of Pack 30 were prepared. Armed with knowledge of the Scout Oath and Law, the Outdoor Code, and wearing face masks, scouts from Pack 30 crossed over to BSA Scouts.

Proudly, Troop 30 has become ready for them. We are now calling ourselves BSA Scouts, as we accept scouts of any gender. Our youth leaders have trained to make sure they have the skills to teach younger scouts how to tie knots, set up tents, cook on camp stoves and play steal the bacon. We have male and female leaders who have trained in both scout leadership and mentoring youth to support the troop, and best of all, we have new scouts ready to learn.

For more information on how your child can join scouting, contact us watertowntroop30@gmail.com.

Masked scouts collect 5,403 pounds — 2.5 tons — of food

Scouts from Troop 30 and Pack 30 combined forces Saturday to collect two-and-half tons of food for the Watertown Food Pantry. 

In normal times, the Troop (BSA scouts age 10-17) and the Pack (Cub Scouts age 5-10) would solicit donations from customers at Stop & Shop as part of an initiative called Scouting for Food. This year, to keep contact at a minimum and taking Coronavirus precautions, Cub Scouts held a contest to see who could collect the greatest number of donations from neighbors. Cubs flyered their neighborhoods asking for help, and Watertown responded: Cubs collected carloads of groceries totaling 4,941 pounds. 

The Cub Scout with the heaviest donation, Nathaniel Dourianof Bear Den 8, collected 670 pounds of peanut butter, pasta, canned beans and other groceries, but he wasn’t alone. Other Cub Scouts gathered 200 or 300 pounds of groceries delivered Saturday to the food pantry. 

Other neighbors came and dropped off donations of their own. Dozens of bags of canned chickpeas, coffee, tea and tomato sauce were followed by carloads of jarred soups, jams and jellies, treats like Fluff and Jello, and of course that difficult-to-find commodity of 2020, toilet paper. 

Troop 30 scouts, armed with food pantry bins and hand sanitizer, sorted the items on the lawn of 80 Mt. Auburn Street, the Watertown-Belmont UMC building that hosts both the scouts and the Watertown Food Pantry. Donations are distributed Tuesdays at 80 Mt. Auburn Street.

The need remains for families in Watertown as many are out of work due to the current Coronavirus pandemic. For services and information on how to support our community, find the Watertown Food Pantry on the town website. 

Celebrating our new Eagle Scout

In an outdoor ceremony, Troop 30 celebrated our newest Eagle Scout, Michael McNamara.

Michael as been part of scouting most of his life, moving from Cub Scouts Pack 30 to Troop 30. As a Boy Scout, Michael served as Quartermaster — a big job making sure the troop has all the gear it needs for whatever activity the scouts need.

Then, Michael was elected senior Patrol Leader. As the senior leader of the Troop, he developed patrols that would later come in second in the Spirit of Adventure Klondike Derby (2018) and would win the entire Northern Lights Klondike Derby (2019).

To become an Eagle Scout, Michael needed to complete a service project for our community. He chose the Watertown Food Pantry, which shares space with the Troop at Watertown-Belmont UMC. He oversaw a project building a locked storage area so pantry workers could easily use and secure federally-funded foods.

Michael was celebrated in a ceremony witnessed by Troop 30 and Pack 30 scouts, and emceed by Scoutmaster Chris DeRocher, who Michael thanked with a mentor pin.

Everyone in Troop 30 wishes our new Eagle Scout the best as he now joins the U.S. Marines at boot camp.

Scouting for Food needs your help

Pack 30 and Troop 30 are supporting the Watertown Food Pantry again this year, but as with everything in 2020, Scouting for Food will be different.

Scouting for Food is a nationwide service challenge taken on by Boy Scouts of America, targeting food insecurity. In Watertown, the two BSA organizations have come together every November to get grocery lists in the hands of shoppers so they can help fill the shelves of the town-run food pantry.

This year, with COVID-19 precautions in place, Scouting for Food will look a little different. Scouts will be flyering their neighborhoods, seeking donations they can pick up on doorsteps Nov. 21. They’ll then bring it to the Food Pantry location, 80 Mt. Auburn Street, and the Cub Scout who collects the heaviest donations wins a prize.

This year, more families than ever are relying on support from the food pantry for basic needs during the pandemic, with businesses shut down and some families losing income as kids attend school from home.

You can help. Cub Scouts can collect contact-free donations from your doorstep on Nov. 21, or you can deliver shelf-stable food items to scouts Nov. 21, noon-3 p.m., at 80 Mt. Auburn Street — the oval driveway at Watertown-Belmont UMC. Masked scouts will happily accept and sort any donation you can give to support Watertown families.

The most in-demand items are those used every day in households:
✔ Cereal (This has been a great need with kids home from school)
✔ National brands of canned soup, corn, beans, chickpeas
✔ Pasta and Rice
✔ Old Fashioned Oatmeal
✔ Cooking Oil
✔ Tuna Fish
✔ Tomato Sauce, Canned Tomatoes, Tomato Paste
✔ Macaroni & Cheese
✔ Grape Jelly and Strawberry Preserves
✔ Peanut Butter

For more information, contact watertowntroop30@gmail.com.

Troop 30 meeting outside and masked

Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts meet outside in Watertown.

With the Coronavirus crisis still forcing school changes and mask mandates in Massachusetts, Troop 30 is meeting outdoors every week.

Outdoor meetings on Thursdays in October and November? Absolutely — Be Prepared is our motto, after all. Scouts wear masks, always, and when the weather is cool, they have jackets. Now that everyone is trained in setting up a lantern, we’re able to work on advancement, we’ve had an election of new leaders and we’ve even met with Cub Scouts who will move up to Troop 30 in early 2021.

Boys and girls age 10-17 can join Troop 30

So far this year, Troop 30 has had a campout — also with Webelos, the oldest of the Cub Scouts — where we’ve mastered orienteering, outdoor cooking and and the eating of chocolate cake made in a Dutch oven on the fire.

This year has been a very unusual year in the history of scouting in Watertown, no doubt, but we are continuing to serve the community. Since the pandemic hit, one scout took his family to clean up a section of the Charles River, filling an entire car with trash to haul away. One planted a tree at a state campsite on behalf of the family of a longtime camper who died of Covid earlier this year.

And, we have our Eagles. Michael McNamara received his Eagle rank this summer after building secure storage for the Watertown Food Pantry. Another Eagle project is currently under way.

Scouts take care of each other and our
community

Troop 30 has always had a strong outdoor program, but now that the safest place to be is outside, we’re doubling-down on those efforts. Any youth who has completed fifth grade is welcome to join us.

Scouts learn citizenship and leadership, but there’s so much more they do. Scouts learn to camp, to cook and how to build a campfire. They also have plenty of opportunity to make friends as they sit around a campfire — just in masks, this year.

Troop 30 is for boys and girls in Watertown, Allston and Brighton. Contact us at watertowntroop30@gmail.com to learn more.

Michael’s Eagle Scout Service Project

Michael, left, is a Life Scout enclosing a secure cabinet space for the Watertown Food Pantry. Fellow scouts Patricio and Deion, and Michael’s mom, are preparing the space by first cleaning and painting the cabinets.

In coming days Michael will lead a team of scouts who’s job it is to transform the space so Food Pantry volunteers can quickly and safely work in the space.

Troop 30 staying safe

Ian Mask InstructionsWith school out of session due to the Coronavirus crisis, Troop 30 has changed its meetings to online. Scouts are still advancing in rank, merit badges are being earned and public service is still a priority, it’s just being done with COVID-19 precautions.

Looking to make your own mask? Assistant Scoutmaster Ian Clark developed his own mask with a stiff nose bridge to keep you safe. Instructions are at the link.

Ian’s Mask Making Instructions

Scouts collect $10K in canned goods for Watertown Food Pantry

Scouts sorting foodIn 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.

Lift“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.

CollectionsScouts 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.

Bears and shampooWhen 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.

with truck