SOUTHWICK — Boy Scout troops 114 and 338, along with Girl Scouts and members of the Southwick Regional School National Honor Society, collected more than 11,000 pounds of food on Nov. 20.
Although teenagers are known for their hearty appetite, the youth donated the food to Our Community Food Pantry, which serves Southwick, Granville and Tolland.
The annual Scouting for Food drive included the entire community. Residents were asked to leave non-perishable food donations by their mailbox, and volunteers collected them throughout the day.
Troop Leader Erik Davidson said many families continue to struggle during the pandemic, and those who are not struggling stepped up to help.
“I think people were more generous and giving this year,” said Davidson. “We definitely collect, on a normal year, 10,000 pounds and it was really nice to see that happen again and exceed that.”
Davidson said the scouts “feel a civic pride and they all believe in the giving season as well as giving every time they’re available.”
According to the pantry’s website, hunger in local communities may not look like what people typically think about when talking about hunger.
“There are many misconceptions about hunger,” states ourcommunityfoodpantry.org. “One of the most common is that hunger is not a local problem. If that were the case, food pantries would not be struggling to meet demand, as they are now. Another misnomer is that hunger only affects the poor and uneducated. Were that true, people with college educations and stable jobs would somehow be able to avoid natural disasters and recessions. If only! In our community, a large percentage of the people currently seeking food aid have jobs and educations; they contribute to society and work hard. Yet despite this, they are struggling to make ends meet.”
The pantry accepts donations of food and funds year-round. Needs include healthy cereal, pasta sauce, pasta, tuna, dry milk, canned fruit and vegetables, tuna, hot chocolate, coffee, tea and other pantry staples.
Our Community Food Pantry is at 200 College Highway, Southwick, and is open Mondays, 3-5 p.m.; Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to noon; and Thursdays, 5-6 p.m.
Davidson said the troops will continue to give back in other ways, and noted that Max Austin of Boy Scout Troop 114, a St. Mary’s High School student, is working with city engineers in Westfield to repair crosswalk signs. He said Troop 114 members and National Honor Society members were scheduled to help launch Austin’s traffic safety effort last weekend.