NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. – The trust of Boy Scout Troop 155 members was shattered last Tuesday with the arrest of their former scoutmaster – Andrew Myers – on child pornography charges.
But after more than a week of emergency meetings and frank discussions, the troop has a new interim scoutmaster – Howard Carlson – and a time-to-move forward attitude.
The troop held a meeting on Tuesday, the first since Myers’ arrest.
The boys will hold their semi-annual food collection for the Peace of Bread food pantry on Saturday, Sept. 8, and Carlson is hoping the community will come out in force and support them.
Charles Thompson, long-time scoutmaster for Troop 155, is proud of the boys who say they were ready to face the public.
He also knows the food pantry is in dire need of their help.
Peace of Bread community kitchen at the Presbyterian Church on Cottage Street serves a free meal to anyone in need every Wednesday, and those who attend are also welcome to take food from the pantry.
Last week, about 150 people took advantage of the free meal, “but the shelves of the food pantry were virtually empty,’’ said Thompson, who is a Peace of Bread volunteer.
Boy Scout troop meetings are conducted by the boys, with supervision by adults, and the boys decided that “this troop will not hide in the basement … they’re going to do what Scouts do and that is help out in the community,’’ Thompson said.
At the Wal-Mart food collection last spring, the troop collected $160 and about 1,800 items of food or household items, Carlson said.
A list of needed items is provided shoppers as they enter Wal-Mart and they are encouraged to purchase what they can for the collection while they shop.
Strong community support will be very “affirming for us and help the boys understand they have nothing to be ashamed of; they did nothing wrong,’’ Carlson said.
“The most important therapy for these boys right now will be to know the community supports them,’’ Thompson said.
The food collection will be from 8 a.m.to3 p.m., with troop members working in shifts. At3 p.m., the boys will bring the items collected to the church and stock the shelves.