Letter: Help letter carriers stamp out hunger

Published 9:33 am Thursday, May 7, 2015

The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) and National Rural Letter Carriers Association (NRLCA) of Austin are announcing our 22nd annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive for May 9. We will hold our drive in conjunction with the national carrier food drive conducted each year the second Saturday in May. Nationally, this is the 23rd consecutive year the NALC has held a food drive. In those 23 years letter carriers have collected more than one billion pounds of food to help feed the hungry. Locally, we have large populations of elderly and children — the two most vulnerable groups in America for food issues.

Again this year we ask residents of Austin and the surrounding area to place nonperishable food items in bags or boxes near their mailboxes for a carrier or volunteer to pick up. The NALC will then get the food to our local food shelf at the Salvation Army. This year volunteers from the Austin Jaycees and National Honor Society plan on assisting us to collect and organize the donations. To ensure all food donated is collected we ask residents to have their food out at the mailbox by 9 a.m. However, if that is inconvenient or if they forget we will collect the food whenever they get it out, including Friday or Monday. This is a rain or shine event. Donations can be left at the Salvation Army or the Post Office. We encourage actual food donations but monetary gifts should be made out to the Salvation Army.

This is a countywide food drive and those in rural areas of Mower County should check with their local post office on how to donate. In the past, carriers from the Brownsdale, Rose Creek, Adams, Lyle, LeRoy, Racine and Dexter areas have participated. All food collected in those communities stays with their local food shelf. Last year we collected over 9,000 pounds of food for our Austin food shelf.

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We hope to deliver a grocery bag, regionally donated by Cub Foods, to every city residence the week of the drive. All food donated in Austin stays in Austin.

Lori Blanton, the local food shelf director, told me they could use donations of beans (baked, kidney, chili) and pasta, canned potatoes and vegetables, cereals and whole grains, soup and crackers, and flour and sugar.

Finally, our friendly competition with our friends in Albert Lea continues this year. In 2011, we won the traveling trophy but the last three years they have won. Help us Stamp Out Hunger.

Bob Rosel

Food Drive Coordinator and post office employee