Boy Scouts seek cans and bottles for annual drive

WESTFIELD-St. Mary’s Boy Scout Troop 109 members are hopeful to garner 70,000 cans and bottles during their annual bottle and can drive on April 10.

The collection event is planned from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. near the Super Phipps Liquors store at 485 East Main St.

“Many people have saved cans and bottles for over a year, so we could exceed that number,” said spokesperson Dave Flaherty, “retired Scoutmaster.”

Flaherty noted that steps will be taken to keep the volunteers and donors as safe as possible.

“Masks and gloves are required, and donors can stay in their vehicles,” said Flaherty, adding, “volunteers will remove cans and bottles.”

All types of Massachusetts and Connecticut returnable bottles will be accepted, including plastic, glass, aluminum, soda, beer, and sports drinks, and water bottles with a CT stamp.

Flaherty added that the troop has several sponsors this year who will match a penny per can or bottle.

“The penny per can sponsor matches are earmarked for camperships to help cover costs for scouts who may otherwise not be able to participate,” said Flaherty.

For donors who have three large leaf bags or more, arrangements can be made for pickups on April 10, or if city residents want to drop off large volumes of bags before Saturday, they can send an email to [email protected] or call (413) 348-5757 to make arrangements. In addition, donors may send a message through the troop’s Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/Troop109Westfield.

Flaherty said there has been a “great demand” for outdoor activities from boys who have been isolated for most of the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our troop is very active and we have a great leadership team of committed youth and adults,” said Flaherty, noting the scouts volunteer in the community on a regular basis. 

Members of St. Mary’s Boy Scout Troop 109 sort cans and bottles at a past collection drive. (THE WESTFIELD NEWS FILE PHOTO)

“This year we were limited due to the pandemic restrictions,” said Flaherty. “However, three scouts from Troop 109 managed to earn Eagle Scout. One of the Eagle Scout requirements is a leadership service project that involved dozens of volunteer hours. Sean M. built and installed an informational kiosk, Brandon B. refinished Little League dugouts, and Alex D. built bat boxes.

Funds collected from Saturday’s event will support the general operations of the troop, community service projects, and special trips including summer camp, a 100-mile trip in the Adirondacks, and/or backpacking adventures.

For the past year, scouts have mostly conducted business using the Zoom platform.

“We should be back up to about 24 scouts once we get through COVID,” said Flaherty, adding, “We have held a couple of COVID safe camping trips following all of the state, local, and Boy Scouts of America guidelines.”

Tim McMahon serves as Scoutmaster, and Sean M. is the Senior Patrol Leader who is elected to lead the troop. 

“This is the largest annual fundraiser for the Boy Scouts, and we use the proceeds to help deliver a wonderful scouting program for our kids,” said McMahon. “Our scouts are very active in the community, they develop wonderful values, and have a lot of fun learning and experiencing new things.”

McMahon added that scouts enjoy camping and backpacking, and spend a lot of time outdoors every year.

“Please help support these scouts – your friends and neighbors – by donating your returnable bottles and cans on Saturday,” said McMahon.

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