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Local postal workers join food drive effort

Local postal workers join food drive effort

Posted: Thursday, May 6, 2010 9:17 pm

The National Association of Letter Carriers will conduct the nation’s largest annual food drive to combat hunger Saturday.
On that day, letter carriers will collect non-perishable donations from homes as they deliver mail along their postal routes.
Locally, the food drive has been conducted by carriers in Union City, but this year the food drive will be held county-wide. (See related photo, Page 2.)
The 18th annual NALC National Food Drive to “Stamp Out Hunger” is the largest one-day food drive in the nation. Carriers collected a record 73.4 million pounds of food in last year’s drive. The drive is held annually on the second Saturday in May in over 10,000 cities and towns in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.
Donations from this year’s drive are expected to push the overall total, since the annual drive began 18 years ago, to over 1 billion pounds. The total currently is 982.7 million pounds.
Donations will be collected by more than 1,400 local branches of the 295,000-member postal union and distributed to food banks, pantries and shelters that serve the communities where they are collected. Assisting in the effort are rural letter carriers and other postal employees, as well as members of other unions and thousands of civic volunteers.
The American Red Cross, Meals on Wheels for the elderly, Reelfoot Rural Ministries and local churches will benefit from the drive in Obion County. Drive coordinator Felicia Warmath said all the carriers ask of church representatives is they call Saturday morning at 11 and ask to speak with Roger Burress or Ben Wilkins to find out what time they should arrive at the post office to get food to refill their food pantries. The numbers to use are 885-9711 or 885-0729.
Over the some 10 years the local letter carriers have been participating in the drive, between one and three tons of food have been collected each year, Ms. Warmath said, adding, “We want to thank the community. They have been absolutely wonderful.”
She said this is the one thing the letter carriers can do for the community and it makes them feel good.
To participate, area residents are asked to placed non-perishable foods, which are still within their expiration dates, near their mailboxes for pick up.
NALC president Fredric V. Rolando emphasized that as successful as the food drive has been in the past, it simply must be even better this year.
“Millions and millions of families are suffering — struggling to make ends meet and put food on the table,” he said. “Food banks, pantries and shelters need our help more than ever this year. As families count on them for support, they’re counting on us and we will not back off on our commitment.”
Rolando also noted that donations are particularly critical at this time since most school lunch programs are suspended during the summer months and millions of children must find alternate sources of nutrition.
Over 125 million postcards, sponsored by the Campbell Soup Company and the U.S. Postal Service, have been mailed to postal customers to remind them of the drive. Valpak Direct Marketing Systems is also focusing 44 million of its envelopes on encouraging food donations. Television and radio public service announcements featuring David Arquette and Courteney Cox are being made available throughout the country.
Other co-sponsors of the drive with the letter carriers’ union are the U.S. Postal Service’s Priority Mail; Campbell Soup Company; Valpak; National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association; Feeding America, the nation’s food bank network; United Way Worldwide and its local United Ways; and the AFL-CIO.
Published in The Messenger 5.6.10

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