Time to set food by the mailbox
Published 10:32 am Wednesday, May 7, 2014
The postal carriers in Austin hope to reclaim victory by beating their Albert Lea rivals this year when it comes to collecting food for the hungry.
The Austin and Albert Lea branches of the National Association of Letter Carriers and the motor-route mail carriers will participate Saturday in the 22nd annual NALC food drive. The drive is a friendly competition between Austin and Albert Lea, but that’s secondary to the real mission.
“The real goal is to collect as much food as we can to benefit the local food shelves,” said mail carrier Bob Rosel.
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Rosel has volunteered to help coordinate this year drive for several years. He, along with 25-plus carriers and volunteers from the high school National Honor Society and the Jaycees, will collect the food Saturday. He said they will be collecting throughout the week, and next Monday for those who forget, but the main focus is for Saturday.
The food collected is weighed at the post office and goes directly to the Salvation Army Food Shelf.
The drive will happen rain or shine, but that’s not Rosel’s biggest concern.
Rose Creek, Adams, Lyle, LeRoy, Racine and Dexter mail carriers have also participated in the past.
Rosel worries that many people will think the food collected goes to the communities that have publicized it the most. But this is not true. All the food collected will stay in the communities that collected it.
“Be generous, you’re helping your neighbors and your community,” Rosel said.
The friendly competition with Austin goes back to 2007, but Albert Lea has won every year except once.
Albert Lea residents donated 14,241 pounds of food for the 2013 drive, while Austin residents donated 10,700.
The amount raised in each city nationally is listed by the union. He said Albert Lea consistently outperforms cities of the same size.
The carriers will deliver a postcard reminder this week and will give out bags to hold the food. People can set the food in or near mailboxes to be picked up Saturday.
Nationwide, the postal carriers collected more than 74 million pounds of food. In the history of the drive, 1.3 billion pounds have been picked up.
Tim Engstrom contributed to this report.