Scouts collect 367 turkeys in 'most successful food drive'

Local Scouts had their best year ever at the annual Thanks-4-Giving food drive this past weekend, collecting 367 turkeys and more than $4,000 in cash and gift cards.

“Overall all it was a super weekend,” said Tom Mercaldo, chairman of the Thanks-4-Giving Food drive. “We prepared baskets for 315 families; we provided food to Milford Food Bank, Cornerstone Food bank, Food 2 Kids, John Rigley Food Pantry, First United Church of Christ Food Pantry and Saint Gabriel's Food Pantry.”

Some of the cash will be donated to Beth El Shelter, and the remainder will be used to buy food for the needy during the holiday season.   

“This was by far our most successful food drive ever,” Mercaldo said.

The annual Milford Scouts’ Thanks-4-Giving food drive took place Nov. 10 to 13.

Troop 1 of Milford hosted the collection, with help from more than a dozen other Boy Scout, Cub Scout and Girl Scout units.  

The Scouts camped out at Milford’s Wasson Field over two days, collecting and sorting food donations from residents and staffing tables at local supermarkets.

Over the previous 11 years, Milford Scouts have collected more than 70,000 pounds of food and 1,600 turkeys, and received more than $10,000 for the cause through the Thanks-4-Giving event.

Tyler Pelham was about seven years old when he came up with the idea for the Thanks-4-Giving Thanksgiving food drive. His father, Kevin, along with Cub Scout Pack 7, helped get it off the ground.

Tyler got the idea for the big collection when he was was watching TV after Hurricane Katrina and saw so many people in need.

This year marked the 12th year for the holiday food collection.

That first year, the effort helped 50 families, so the collection has grown substantially. Organizers have said it is the largest Scouting food drive in the state of Connecticut.

The event is supported by numerous local businesses and organizations, including Stop & Shop, ShopRite, Adams Supermarkets, The Milford Bank, Aquinas Consulting, Napoli Foods, Aldi’s, Walmart, Target, Trader Joe’s, Tri City Appliance, Speed Printing, Mathnasium, Dunkin Donuts, Give the Dog a Bath, Shick/Edgewell, Starbucks, Transicold, Gingerbread House, Dan Perkins and Women Redefining Retirement.

"The Boy and Girl Scouts of Milford would really like to thank everyone in the community for their outstanding support and generosity," Mercaldo said.