FAIRFIELD — Local Boy Scouts answered a call of real need Saturday morning when they organized a food drive for Operation Hope.

Gary Stewart, 17, of Fairfield, led the project as part of his work to become an Eagle Scout.

“We’re all about community projects and volunteering,” he said, acknowledging the work of his fellow scouts who unloaded, sorted and stored food items for the organization.

“During COVID our need has really gone up,” said Andrew McKinniss, 16, of Fairfield, another active youth and longtime volunteer with Operation Hope.

“Homelessness has increased,” he said, and food is scarcer to find for many people.

McKinniss said this month in particular the food pantry is hoping to get donations of peanut butter, jelly, canned vegetables, stews, crackers and boxed milk.

“These are things we sometimes don’t get,” he said.

Carla Miklos, executive director, said that the irony with the pandemic is that a much greater number of people are in need, but with widespread closures that are much fewer groups and organizations to serve them.

“Projects like this are critical to our success,” she said.