May 6, 2002
Letter carriers gear up for food drive
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 in over 10,000 cites and towns throughout all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. In fact, the Stamp Out Hunger effort is the nation's largest one-day food drive.
It 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. Food from the Bothell Post Office will go to Hopelink.
"We did well at Christmas, but we have a lot more people using the food bank lately," said Walster.
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 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.
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 come in and 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.