NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. – A food collection drive conducted by Boy Scout Troop 155 filled the empty shelves of the Peace of Bread Food Pantry on Saturday.
Fred Beauregard, one of the organizers of the drive for several years, said the troop collected 1,610 items of food and $444.52 in cash for the pantry.
The boys conduct the drive in front of Walmart on Valley Parkway twice each year in what might be considered the “off season’’ for food collections.
People think of people in need around the holidays, Beauregard said, but that need doesn’t go away when the holidays are over.
“We try to give when most folks aren’t giving,’’ Beauregard said.
The drive took on added significance this fall, not just for the pantry, but for troop members as they deal with the arrest of their troop leader last month for possession of child pornography.
The boys and their parents were initially anxious about being in the public eye, but the troop had a great turnout and received incredible support from the community, Beauregard said.
Following the collection, the boys stocked the shelves of the pantry at the Presbyterian Church on Cottage Street.
The Northbridge Association of Churches offers a free meal at the church every Wednesday, and those who attend are welcome to take home a bag of groceries from the pantry.
“When the Scouts saw on the pantry shelves Saturday a lone package of paper towels and a few pounds of whole wheat pasta, they realized just how important their drive was to the pantry,’’ Beauregard said.
When the boys were done, every shelf was filled, with extra set aside for the future.