Scouts from Troop 44 with some of the 100 bags of food donations collected during its recent food drive.
patricia keller photo
WEST MILFORD - Scouts BSA Troop 44, chartered by the West Milford Presbyterian Church, recently held a food drive to support local food pantries, and also assist with the Boy Scouts of America's Scouting for Food initiative. As the first West Milford BSA Scouting Unit to host both a male and a female Troop, all Scouts from both troops participated in the food drive. Scouts working on their “Citizenship in the Community” Merit Badge were able to meet with Kathi Enering at the West Milford Presbyterian Church Food Pantry to learn about the food pantry, how it works, and what kids can do to help. Participating Troop 44 Scouts will earn community service hours for their work on this food drive in addition to hours earned at a previous community food drive the troop held in December. Following the informative meeting, Enering said she was impressed by the Scouts respectful behavior, intelligent questions, and their ideas and enthusiasm to help others in need. The Scouts took their empty shopping bags and set out with their families over the subsequent two weeks to distribute the bags and arrange for porch pick up to collect donations. According to troop leaders, the support that the Troop 44 Scouts received from family, friends and neighbors throughout the community for the food drive was incredible, as evidenced by the results. Troop 44 collected nearly 100 bags of donations, for a total of 657 lbs of food, cleaning supplies, and personal care items, as well as $30 in financial contributions for the West Milford Presbyterian Church Food Pantry. Donations were sorted by the scouts, and needed items were delivered to the church food pantry. Due to the tremendous success of the food drive, Troop 44 was also able to distribute items to other local food pantries within the township- St. Joseph Church, and Our Lady Queen of Peace Church food pantries. Troop 44 Scouts decided to donate any remainder of items collected that are not immediately needed within the West Milford community to Scouting For Food, as the BSA initiative is running in concurrence and delivery date follows after the Troop's planned community Food Drive. According to the Northern NJ Council of the Boy Scouts of America organization, “Scouting for Food is BSA’s annual food drive. As a District, we coordinate this large effort, however, your Unit may choose to participate more often. Through a generous donation from Shop Rite (the Wakefern Corporation), printed plastic supermarket bags are available for each unit. Bags and instruction sheets are available now from the NNJC office.” “Recommended food items are printed on the bag, along with instructions for the recipient.” Donations collected for Scouting For Food were delivered on Saturday, March 9 to the Bergen Police and Fire Academy in Mahwah. From there, scouting volunteers sorted donations. Troop 44 leaders said they wanted to thank the West Milford Community for its support and generous donations that helped make the food drive a success.