SOUTHWICK – Scouting for Food is a longstanding tradition for Boy Scouts in Southwick and even during a pandemic, the drive continues.
In past years, scouts would leave bags at homes with a flyer attached alerting families to the annual drive. A week later, scouts would return to the homes to collect the bags, hopefully filled with non-perishable items.
The donations were then brought to the Southwick Our Community Food Pantry where scouts would help sort the items and get them ready for families for Thanksgiving.
Troops 114 and 338 are continuing the tradition this year, with a COVID twist. Members of the troops met via zoom last week to discuss Scouting for Food and to work on their Communication Badges.
Scouts participating in the Scouting for Food discussion include Troop 114 members Ethan Davidson, Mason Grazia, Tyler Stratton, Connor Settembro and Anthony DiStefano. Troop 338 members include Willard, Peter and Marcus Davis. The scouts discussed this year’s version of the program.
“This year we can’t do the sorting,” said scout Tyler Stratton.
“We are going to collect the food and bring it to the pantry,” added Mason Grazia.
Scouts will also not provide bags a week ahead of the collection but will be posting flyers they made throughout the community. Scouts will pick up donations left beside mailboxes on Nov. 21 at 9 a.m. and bring them to the pantry.
Pantry Director Sally Munson said they will not be distributed for Thanksgiving because of COVID precautions.
“They will have to sit for three days before our volunteers can sort and box them, then they would have to sit three more days before we could distribute them, so there is not enough time to get them out for Thanksgiving,” Munson said.
Instead, the donations will be used in the weekly food distribution to residents of Southwick, Granville and Tolland. “This will help us stock our shelves for winter,” Munson said, adding she was very grateful to the Boy Scouts and community for contributing to the Pantry and continuing this traditioin.
Scouts already began posting their flyers around town, which helps them earn their Communication Badge. One scout, Connor Settembro, said he was placing a very large sign in his yard to draw more attention to the drive since they were not leaving bags at residences this year.
“A lot of families need food,” said Settembro. “Some people lost their jobs because of COVID and don’t have enough money to buy enough food, so this is important.”
His fellow scouts agreed that this year, more than ever, Scouting for Food can make a difference for local families.
The Davis brothers and Ethan Davidson spoke about the history of the program, which began in 1985 by the Greater St. Louis Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Any resdeints wishing to participate should leave a bag filled with non-perishable items near their mailbox on Nov. 21. Scouts will begin collecting at 9 a.m.