Since 1986, the Wellesley community has come together to gather items to donate in an annual food drive hosted by the Wellesley Food Pantry. The event has been led by participating Wellesley Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venture Crews, Girl Scouts, and many other volunteers who travel around the neighborhoods of Wellesley and collect food to stock the pantry for members of the community who need it. However, the pantry has had to adapt to the conditions of the pandemic and has changed its process of collecting and stocking their donations.
This year, instead of holding one big food drive over the course of a weekend, the pantry has decided to hold “mini-drives” that range from winter to early spring. Within the “mini-drives”, volunteers, Scouts, and crews choose a neighborhood or “route”, where they will notify its residents about the items that are needed and return on their designated Saturday to collect the donations accordingly. The dates of the “mini” food drives will be the following: November 14, December 12, January 23, February 27, March 20, April 10, and May 15.
Despite the many changes that have occurred with the food drive, participants remain positive.
“One positive benefit is perhaps the increased willingness to give. I think that this year people are trying to look out for one another and donating to the food bank is a perfect opportunity to help your community,” said Hannah Cronin ’23, a member of Girl Scout Troop 73200. “My goal in collecting donations is to have a positive impact on my community and help support those in need, especially during times like these. I hope that by collecting food I will be able to provide some tangible help to another.”
However, since the food drive period has been significantly lengthened, Scouts and community members worry that the flow of donations will dwindle as the year progresses.
“I’d say the biggest challenge within the current system of the food drive is how to keep donations coming because although donating is amazing, donating consistently will have a big impact on the food store at the food bank,” said Cronin.
One of the most important factors with the annual food drive is the community’s interest in serving members who have needs that must be fulfilled.
“[We] currently serve approximately 400 clients in about 200 households in town. Of those who come to the pantry for food and personal care products, about a third are children (18 years old and younger) and another third are seniors,” says the Wellesley Food Pantry website.
The pantry depends on the collaboration and contribution of the community. More information can be found on their website, including the current donation wish list, curbside donation hours, guidelines that must be followed for safety, and more.
“The Food Pantry is so grateful to all who make this day possible,” said Cynthia Scott, a board member of the pantry. “We are so glad to have so many Scouts, volunteers, and food donors who have made the effort to assure that we will have enough food to see us through the holidays and beyond.”