Carp scouts’ food drive fills hall floor

CARP – The 1st Carp Scouts and their partners in the project have perfected the art of the food drive and it shows as the volunteers collected what must be more than 1,000 pounds of food last Saturday (Dec. 14) during their 33rd annual St. Nicholas Day in Carp Food Drive.

The annual holiday tradition is a joint effort between Huntley Centennial Public School, 1st Carp Scouts, the Anglican Parish of Huntley (St. James Church), St. Paul’s Church and the West Carleton Food Access Centre (WCFAC).

Huntley Centennial Public School Grade 4 and 5 students distribute flyers and bags the week prior. The 1st Carp Scouts, Cubs and Beavers collect the food the morning of the 11th Annual Carp Santa Claus Parade starting around 9 a.m.

St. Paul’s Church provides lunch for the volunteers. St. James Church assembles the food into baskets and delivers them to the homes of about 100 families. The remainder of food is delivered to the West Carleton Food Access Centre.

And the whole Carp community donates the food – this year a massive amount covering almost the entire St. James’ Church parish hall floor.

A closer up view of some of the more than 50 volunteers that helped with food donation collecting Dec. 14. Photo by Jake Davies
A closer up view of some of the more than 50 volunteers that helped with food donation collecting Dec. 14. Photo by Jake Davies

“Hundreds of bags were donated for sure,” 1st Carp Scouts group commissioner Ross Trusler told West Carleton Online in the brief time available between loading the donations in to the parish hall, then eating a quick lunch and then heading to the scouts’ float for the parade. “Pretty good for 90 minutes of collecting. We get more food collected during the parade too.”

“It was heavy,” volunteer collector Julie Vernooy, 8, told West Carleton Online. “Except for the bag of tissues. Everything we collect is really needed.”

The scouts have about 38 youth and 28 adults helping with this year’s collection. The team hits about 600 homes in that hour-and-a-half. The note the Huntley students deliver earlier in the week asks residents to have their donation bagged, and if possible, at the end of their driveway to expedite pick-up. There’s no time for idle chit-chat. The scouts also collected cash donations for the WCFAC.

“We get to almost everything,” Trusler said. “Those notes home are really helpful. It gives people time to prepared. Many people leave bags outside the door.”

The scouts review their maps every couple of years to make sure they know where they are going and to keep the operation tight. But Trusler adds, there would be no food drive without the donations from the community.

“It’s been very good,” he said of the year’s haul. “It’s a very high response rate.”