Milford Scouts’ Thanks-4-Giving collection to aid the hungry

MILFORD - Scouts are banding together to make sure everyone enjoys a hearty meal this Thanksgiving.

The 17th annual Thanks-For-Giving food drive, run by the city’s Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in conjunction with Milford Family Services, will run from Friday to Sunday at Wasson Field behind the Parson’s Government Complex. Hours are Friday, 12:15 to 8 p.m., Saturday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday, 8 to 11:45 a.m.

“Every year, families and seniors need our help to celebrate a time when the basic necessity of food should be in bountiful supply and a blessing on everyone’s table,” said Mark Lofthouse, Thanks-For-Giving Public Relations chair.

“We know there are many that will go hungry unless we all pitch in and do our share to help our fellow human beings,” he added.

The scouts campout at Wasson Field over two days, collecting and sorting food donations and staffing collection sites at local supermarkets. Scouts work round the clock collecting frozen turkeys, non-perishable food items, and monetary donations, and the drive culminates with food deliveries to local families.

Over the past 16 years, Thanks-for-Giving has distributed more than 130,000 pounds of food, 4,460 turkeys, and $33,000 to feed more than 2,300 Milford families.

“We are trying to teach young people the importance of giving back and helping others and this food drive has become an important event,” said Tom Mercaldo, Thanks for Giving Food Drive chair, said.

Food collected to date and at the coming three-day drive will help feed some 400 families this holiday as well as provide support for such charities as The Milford Food Bank, Cornerstone Food Pantry, John Rigley Food Pantry and Beth El Shelter.

Lofthouse asked people to donate Thanksgiving-themed, non-perishable foods, that have not exceeded their expiration date. The Thanksgiving items sought are frozen turkeys, instant stuffing, instant whipped potatoes, canned sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, canned fruit and canned vegetables, such as corn, peas, carrots and pearl onions.

Other foods needed are pasta, pasta sauce, peanuts, fruit jelly, canned soup, canned stew, canned chicken, rice and canned fish, such as tuna and sardines.

“We need your help to remind everyone that no bowl should be empty during the holiday season or any time of year for that matter,” Lofthouse said. “In light of the growing shortages we see on grocery store shelves, we have to work especially hard this year to meet our common goal of full bellies.”

For more information, visit the Thanks-for-Giving Facebook page at @thx4givingfood.