Northwest NEWS

May 6, 2002

Home & Garden

Letter carriers to help 'Stamp Out Hunger'

For nine years now, the National Association of Letter Carriers has conducted a nationwide "Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive" on the second Saturday in May. And this year will be no different. On Saturday, May 11, U.S. Postal Service letter carriers will be collecting non-perishable food donations as they deliver mail along their postal routes.
   The drive comes at a critical time of year for many food banks, since their stock of holiday donations runs low just as school breakfast and lunch programs close for the summer.
   Maltby Food Bank Director Fran Walster will attest to that. It is the Maltby Food Bank that will benefit from the food collected through the Woodinville Post Office.
   She attributes the surge in food bank use to the weak economy.
   "A lot of people around here are out of work," she said. "This food drive gets us through the summer."
   Food bank users enjoy items like canned juice, cocoa, any drink, Top Ramen, pancake mixes, biscuit mixes, tuna, Hamburger Helper, canned fruits and vegetables, even sugar and flour, said Walster. But any non-perishable donation not in glass would be welcome, she said.
   The rural carriers working out of the Woodinville Post Office will not be paid for the extra hours it takes to pick up the food donations along their routes. Their time is a donation to the overall effort.
   When the carriers have completed their routes, they will bring the food back to the post office, where it will be weighed and loaded into a truck.
   Walters has set a goal of 20,000 pounds of donations for the Woodinville Post Office.
   "Over the past three years our donations have actually decreased," he said. "Three years ago we donated 18,000 pounds; two years ago, 16,000 pounds; and last it was something like 14,000 pounds. This city can do better than that. It is such a wonderful cause."
   On Thursday letter carriers will distribute postcards and plastic bags in mailboxes as a reminder to leave donations of non-perishable food items by mailboxes on Saturday morning, May 11. There will also be a large hamper in the post office lobby. Residents are welcome to drop off food there, if they prefer.
   Walters extends a thank-you to Sandy Smith, Seattle District food drive coordinator, who works closely with all rural carriers and the Maltby Food Bank.
   Moreover, he extends heartfelt gratitude, in advance, to all those who contribute to the drive.