On Saturday, Greenwich residents of all ages gathered with local organizations at the Public Safety Complex to collect food for families facing food insecurity.
Throughout the morning, Greenwich Cub Scouts and Scouts handled drop-offs of non-perishable food, sorting them by type and loading them onto trucks in crates. The food was then delivered to Neighbor to Neighbor’s temporary location in the Horseneck lot for processing and distribution.
Greenwich Emergency Medical Services (GEMS) Explorers and Greenwich Police Explorers also helped oversee the food delivery.
According to Emilia Schiro, Greenwich Council BSA Event Coordinator, the event saw a huge turnout of more than 30 Greenwich Scouts, GEMS Explorers and Police Explorers.
GEMS Explorers in attendance were thrilled to work alongside the Boy Scouts, continuing a long standing collaboration which includes leading charity events and first aid workshops.
On Saturday, Gené Nieuwoudt, certified EMT and GEMS president, reiterated the Explorers’ role as partners of the Boy Scouts,
“We’re here to do whatever the Boy Scouts need to make the day as successful as possible,” Nieuwoudt said.
The event was sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic service organization which operates locally and nationally.
On Saturday, participants emulated the Knights’ core principle of charity and the infamous Boy Scout Slogan, “Do a good turn daily.”
First Selectman Fred Camillo, who served as the event’s Honorary Chair for the ninth year, demonstrated his support for the participants’ message.
“I salute the Greenwich Chapter of the Boy Scouts of America for their continued service to our town and the organizations dedicated to helping those in need,” Camillo said ahead of the event.
Margaret Goldberg, Executive Director of Neighbor to Neighbor, emphasized the need for the food distribution, pointing to long-term consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and a rising need for food assistance among Greenwich families.
As of March 2022, approximately 500 households were receiving food assistance from Neighbor to Neighbor each week, a number which has decreased from 600 at the beginning of the pandemic but is steadily increasing.
Goldberg also said that 8.8 percent of Greenwich households are in “great need.”
According to Goldberg, “It’s important for the community to realize that there are still all of these pressures that will be sustained for a long period of time, so something like this event is really helpful to those in need.”
Greenwich Chief of Police Jim Heavey underscored Goldberg’s concern, pointing to global supply chain shortages and inflation as two contributing factors.
Chief Heavey was grateful that the long-standing event was able to operate once more: “We’re very fortunate to have this opportunity to help people…especially through the Scouts in general and by ‘doing a good turn.’”
For the third year in a row, the Food Drive operated under modified conditions, opting for a food drop-off at the public safety complex rather than several stations around Town.
The adjustment did not deter the participants from making a large impact.
According to Emilia Schiro, the event generated 130 crates and 3,900 pounds of food, as well as over $900 in monetary donations.
The Greenwich Council Boy Scouts of America is a local chapter of the BSA, while the GEMS Explorer and Police Explorer programs enable local teenagers to explore interests in emergency medicine and policing respectively.
To learn more about Greenwich Scouting, visit https://www.greenwichscouting.org/.