Letter carriers ready for food drive
by Courtney Warren
May 07, 2014 | 1809 views | 0 0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The 2014 Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is on Saturday and the Postal Service will be joining the National Association of Letter Carriers to feed America's hungry.

Last year 74.5 million pounds of food was collected.

Forty-nine million, including 16 million children, live in households that experience hunger or the risk of hunger in our country.

"What we do is, today and tomorrow we'll be putting out paper bags in the mail for people to fill and when we come around on Saturday people don't have to worry about trying to have a bag. People just fill the bags and we'll come around and pick them up," said city Letter Carrier Dwayne Hall.

"We're doing it to benefit those in need and it makes you feel good because you're doing something to help other people. We get excited about this every year because it helps our community. Last year we collected way more than offices that are way bigger than Cleveland," said Hall.

"Every year this is something the city carriers do and want to do to give back to the community and help out. They take pride in this—especially the carriers here in Cleveland. We have some carriers who take annual leave to take part in this and carry it all down to Helping Hands. This is just another way of giving back to our community," said postmaster Lorenzo Terry.

In a press release by the NALC, NALC President Fredric Rolando said, "Participation in the drive couldn’t be easier. All we ask is that postal customers place a bag of nonperishable food by their mailbox before their letter carrier comes by on Saturday, May 10. We’ll pick it up and deliver it to a nearby food-distribution charity within that same community.”

The 2013 figure —the second highest achieved — brings to just under 1.3 billion pounds the total amount of food collected and distributed since the national drive began.

This event is the nation’s largest single-day food drive, and is held annually on the second Saturday in May in 10,000 cities and towns in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam.

All people have to do to participate is place the bag provided by the postal service full of nonperishable food by their mailbox on Saturday to be picked up by their local mail carrier.

According to a press release by the NALC, the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive never has been more important than in these times, with hunger a growing problem – affecting about 50 million people around the country, including 17 million children and nine million senior citizens. Pantry shelves filled up through winter-holiday generosity often are bare by late spring. And, with most school meal programs suspended during summer months, millions of children must find alternate sources of nutrition.

“The timing of the food drive is important, and that’s why we selected the second Saturday in May,” said Pam Donato, who coordinates the NALC’s Stamp Out Hunger effort.

On Saturday, the nation’s 175,000 letter carriers will collect the donations residents leave near their mail boxes, as they deliver mail.

People are encouraged to leave the provided bag containing non-perishable foods, such as canned soup, canned vegetables, canned meats and fish, pasta, rice or cereal, next to their mailbox before the regular mail delivery on Saturday.

Carriers will bring the food to local food banks, pantries or shelters, including many affiliated with Feeding America, a national partner in the drive.

Assisting 1,400 local NALC branches will be rural letter carriers and other postal employees, plus members of other unions and civic volunteers. Other national partners are Campbell Soup Co., AARP, Valpak Direct Marketing Systems, Valassis/Red Plum, the U.S. Postal Service, United Way Worldwide, the AFL-CIO, Uncle Bob's Self Storage, GLS Companies, Source Direct Plastics and the Publix grocery store chain.

For more information call the local post office at (662) 843-4032.