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Scouting for Food During the Holidays

Bags of food gathered by Scouting for Food to help feed those in need during the holidays.

The lingering chill in the air makes it official: the holidays are approaching. However, not all families are able to celebrate with feasts this year, so Scouts from South Brunswick are helping out.

Troop 10 and Troop 102 are part of the Scouts BSA program and both troops participate in Scouting for Food, where they partner with ShopRite to collect food to donate to the South Brunswick Food Pantry. Every year, they collect donations in spring before Easter and fall before Thanksgiving.

In previous years, Scouts have collected donations by handing out slips at the entrance of ShopRite with a list of the most needed items. Shoppers could then buy and drop off those items in bins at the exit. This ensures that donations are fresh because the food pantry has received donations that are expired in the past, which cannot be distributed to families in need. The bins usually fill up a few times, so Scouts would make a few trips to the food pantry throughout each shift.

Assistant Scoutmaster Ms. Vaani Pillai said, “Our Scouts have always supported the South Brunswick food pantry, with our biannual Scouting for Food events. We knew there may be more donations needed in our community due to the impact of the pandemic, so we just wanted to do our part.”

With COVID-19, both troops decided to run the food drive a little differently to account for social distancing measures. Some Scouts left a box outside their house for neighbors to drop off food during the spring, but in the fall, other Scouts have been giving out plastic bags for people to place donations in and collect them from people’s doorsteps. After the food’s collected, they dropped the bags off at the municipal building thus making sure the entire process remains contactless. In the spring, Troop 102 was able to collect 250 items and they are hoping to collect more for Thanksgiving.

Sophomore Sindhuja Sarabu said, “If someone is in need, as a South Brunswick resident, we should help and support one another, especially during the holiday season when everyone spends time with their family.”

After a difficult year, there are a few options for people who can make the holiday season special for others impacted by negative circumstances. The food pantry accepts online donations and there is an Amazon wish list for anyone who prefers to order online and have items delivered directly to the food pantry. For people donating food, remember it should not be perishable, frozen or in glass containers. According to South Brunswick Social Services the Top Ten South Brunswick Most Needed Food Items for Thanksgiving are:

  1. Stuffing

  2. Canned meats- tuna, chicken, SPAM

  3. Canned Potatoes

  4. Canned Sweet Potatoes or Yams

  5. Shelf-stable milk

  6. Coffee

  7. Chef Boyardee

  8. Jelly

  9. Toilet paper or paper towels

  10. Shoprite, Stop & Shop or Aldi gift cards

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