Potatoes pg 5 2-21-19

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Potato Fund-raiser
Troop 21 Boy Scout Joseph Vergoni shows off several freshly washed potatoes which he and the other members of the Putnam troop prepared for the Seventh Annual Troop 21 Baked Potato Fund-Raising Buffet. Photo: John D. Ryan.

PUTNAM — “Eat a potato; send a deserving Scout to summer camp.”
That was the rallying cry Feb. 9, when Putnam Boy Scout Troop 21 held its Seventh Annual Baked Potato Buffett.
Several hundred dollars in the till and 120 large baked potatoes later, Scoutmaster John Ryan pronounced the event a success.
“Not every family can afford the $415 it costs to send a Scout to a week of summer camp, so we need help from the community at events like this. Troop 21 never turns any boy away for financial reasons. We still have donations coming in, so we’ll do very well by the time we total things up. We’re grateful to everybody who came out in the cold and ate with us.”
Believe it or not, however, raising money is not the most important reason that Troop 21 holds events like this.
“If it’s done right, and Troop 21 does it right, fund-raising builds character and helps our boys to work to earn their own way,” Ryan said. “
Speaking of work, the Scouts did just that, washing the 120 potatoes, wrapping them in aluminum foil and getting them ready to be baked. They also chopped broccoli, sliced onions and ham, melted cheese, cooked bacon and got the other potato toppings ready. There was coffee, tea and desserts to set out, along with tablecloths and placemats. Then there was cleaning to do when it was over.
It was worth it, Ryan said, when the line of customers stretched quite a distance. For the first time in the seven years since the buffet was first held, the troop sold out, keeping the Scouts busy running the serving line and clearing the tables.
“We were thrilled to have done so well,” said the Scoutmaster. “We’re sorry that we had to turn people away, but we’ll be sure to cook more potatoes next year. The fund-raising for summer camp has to go year-round, with our chicken barbecue coming up in Putnam.” For info about joining, supporting or volunteering, call  Ryan at (860) 928-7241 and leave a message.
Boy Scout Troop 21 has been chartered to, and meeting at, St. Mary’s since its founding in 1995. Although Troop 21 is chartered by St. Mary’s, Scouts do not have to be Catholic or be members of the church. “We’re open to any boy 11 to 17,” Ryan said. “Boys with special needs are welcome, and as I said before, Troop 21 does not turn any boy away for financial reasons.”


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