By Matthew Sockol
MILLSTONE – A church in Millstone Township has opened a food pantry because of the efforts of a local Cub Scout pack.
As part of the annual Scouting for Food food drive, the Cub Scouts of Pack 116 collected more than 1,000 pounds of non-perishable goods. The food was donated to the United Presbyterian Church of Millstone. After receiving the donations, the church established a food pantry at its Ministry Center, 213 Millstone Road.
Following its scheduled opening on Jan. 21, the food pantry will be open each Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon, according to information from the church. Individuals in need may stop by at that time to receive assistance.
Individuals in need of food who are unable to come to the pantry during its hours of operation may call the church office at 732-446-5350 and schedule an appointment.
According to information from Pack 116, the Cub Scouts collected the food over the course of two weekends. During the first weekend, the scouts distributed bags to friends, family members and neighbors. They returned the following weekend to pick up food that had been placed in the bags.
Goods collected included canned food, cereal, pasta, peanut butter, juice and other nonperishable items, according to Pack 116.
According to Barbara Truscinski of the United Presbyterian Church of Millstone, the church teamed up with the Food Donation Connection and a Wawa convenience store, which gave it access to surplus food Wawa had frozen and put aside.
The food, which includes frozen breakfast and lunch items that are fully cooked, is picked up by representatives of the church and distributed to people in need.
Truscinski said the food is delivered to several families in town each week and excess food is donated to seniors in the community.
With the Cub Scouts’ donation of 1,000 pounds of non-perishable goods, the church was able to open its food pantry, according to Truscinski.
“The scouts were so excited to gather the food from their friends and families and then they donated it to the church to share with those in need,” Truscinski said. “They plan to continue to support this program.
“This past summer, we were able to provide many families and some of our senior citizens with fresh produce that was grown in the Millstone Community Garden that is housed on our property and sponsored by the church.
“Monmouth County Master Gardeners and others who worked plots in the garden shared hundreds of pounds of fresh organic produce for this community outreach program. We are very blessed to be able to nourish those in need in our community,” she said.