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Scout Leads Fundraiser to Donate Turkeys

Lowell Sun | Page A01
Monday, 11 November 2019

Matt Waterman, 17, led his Boy Scouts troop to collect over $4,000 to purchase turkeys for the Merrimack Valley Food Bank.

Scout leads fundraiser to donate turkeys

By Nicole DeFeudis
ndefeudis@ lowellsun. com
CHELMSFORD » “ It’s good to see you,” 17- year- old Matt Waterman says to a regular he sees nearly every time he serves meals at St. Paul’s Soup Kitchen in Lowell.
“ It’s nice to be seen,” the man responds each time, Waterman said. Interactions like these are what drive the Chelmsford High School student to volunteer hours of his time feeding those in need.
This year, Waterman led his Chelmsford Boy Scouts troop in a fundraiser to donate about 500 turkeys to the Merrimack Valley Food Bank ahead of Thanksgiving.
“I like to see that more as we’re feeding 500 families,” Waterman said.
The scouts donated 80 turkeys in 2014, the year they launched the drive, according to MVFB Assistant Executive Director Debbie Callery. When Waterman took charge of the fundraiser three years ago, he set a goal to expand it.
“As the number gets bigger, you’re helping more and more people,” he said.
Waterman and other scouts stood outside local stores for about 20 hours this season asking for donations. With the help of a $ 504 grant from the Greater Lowell Community Foundation, they were able to raise more than $ 4,000.
“As part of a community foundation, we’re always looking to inspire the next generation of people who are looking to give,” GLCF Vice President of Marketing and Programs Jennifer Aradhya said.
Waterman then led the troop’s coordination with a Market Basket representative to purchase the turkeys at the cheapest possible rate.
“ It’s extremely fulfilling to know that the money that I’ve collected is going to go to feed and nourish people on Thanksgiving,” Waterman said.
The troop delivers the frozen turkeys to the food bank every Veterans Day. This will mark the first year the scouts will need a box truck to make the drop- off, Waterman said, estimating that the scouts will unload around 6,800 pounds of turkey.
“Pretty much everybody wants a turkey on Thanksgiving,” Callery said. “ It’s not as easy for everybody to keep that tradition going sometimes.”
To help keep traditions alive, the nonprofit will distribute the turkeys to various organizations in 35 cities and towns throughout the Merrimack Valley.
“ They ( The MVFB) are unequivocally committed to helping people in every and any way that they can,” Waterman said.
The high school senior first volunteered at the food bank with his Boy Scouts troop when he was 11 years old. The troop packed bags with juice, milk, pasta, cereal and other necessities to send home with elementary school students.
Little did he know it would spark a yearslong hunger to help the food bank and those deprived of steady meals.
“ The first time we went, I was young, but I really enjoyed what we did,” Waterman said.
The dedicated volunteer constantly seeks opportunities to assist the food bank on his own volition, Callery said. As part of his Eagle Scout Project, Waterman built a new office and shelves to stack food at the nonprofit’s warehouse.
“ We’re really proud of him,” Waterman’s mother, Kim, said. “ He’s always had a heart for service, but now it’s just expanded so much.”
“ It’s something I can do and I can work towards and it will go and maybe make a difference for a lot of people,” Waterman said of the turkey drive.
“ They ( the MVFB) are always looking for volunteers,” he added.

Matt Waterman, 17, led his Boy Scouts troop to collect over $4,000 to purchase turkeys for the Merrimack Valley Food Bank.

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