Our Opinion: Carriers deliver againPublished 6:21am Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Daily Herald editorial
Congratulations are due to the local post office workers who raised about 11,000 pounds of food this year as part of the U.S. Post Office Stamp Out Hunger food drive. Their efforts are commendable, and hundreds of people in Austin and Mower County will be able to eat this month.
Austin letter carriers raised about 2,000 pounds more than last year and 500 pounds more than the national average from Austin and other parts of Mower County, an impressive feat considering our area’s size.
Yet the larger reason the postal carriers deserve our thanks is how poor Austin and Mower County residents are. About 16 percent of Austin families, and 19 percent of Austin residents overall, have lived either at or below the poverty line over the past year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That means more than 4,500 residents out of Austin’s 25,000 population are struggling to support themselves.
The issue only grows when you consider how much local food shelves like the Salvation Army rely on donations. Many people donate food during major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, but few groups like the local postal service donate during the lean months the rest of the year. Salvation Army officials say the 11,000 pounds of food will last for a month, and more donations are needed.
That’s why this annual food donation contest between Austin and Albert Lea is important. Though Albert Lea letter carriers raised 14,000 pounds of food to our 11,000, the real winners are the people who will be able to eat a meal over the next few weeks.