To the Editor:

For the last six years, my son, James, and I have organized food drives for the Loaves & Fishes Hospitality House, our local soup kitchen here in New Milford.

It is run solely by volunteers, made up mostly by the local churches in our area providing hot meals for those who need them.

The end of this past year was particularly tough on Loaves & Fishes, with tropical storm Irene and the freak October snow both leaving thousands in our area without power for days at a time.

Seeing a huge increase of visitors, reserves had depleted like never before. That's when I received a call from a friend of mine who is a volunteer there, Andrea Rush.

She asked if somehow we could do a food drive before the holidays, knowing we have always done one in the lean summer months for them.

After speaking to our Boy Scout Troop 31 here in New Milford, I found my support team. Thanks to Jerry Salvatore, the store manager at our local Stop & Shop, we now had a location.

The only day he had available was, oddly enough, the day after a campout at the New Milford railroad station. This night was designed to thank the Scouts for all the community service they provided throughout the year.

So the tired and bleary-eyed Boy Scouts of Troop 31 rallied yet again for a good cause.

We ran our food drive just before Christmas and found our friends, neighbors and total strangers opening their hearts and wallets like never before.

We had the best food drive at the best time, the season of giving.

We had collected an estimated 1,100 pieces of nonperishables and a whopping $572 dollars, more than double our first drive.

When we delivered the food, we got a better idea of how desperate the need was. We were greeted with open arms.

After unloading two trucks filled with food, we were asked to dine with the team. Upon finishing a nice roast beef dinner, the guests stood up and gave us a round of applause. It was very humbling.

Even though the holiday season is over, there will always be those less fortunate. Do what you can for others, for someday you might need help, too.

Walter Coffey Jr.

Assistant Scoutmaster

Troop 31

New Milford