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Public can help stamp out hunger

The National Association of Letter Carriers and the National Rural Letter Carriers Association are looking to end hunger in Mower County, and they need help from local residents.

On Saturday, the U.S. Postal Service will collect food donations for the 24th annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive. Food will be brought to the Salvation Army, where it will be distributed to local needy families.

“This is a rain or shine event,” said Food Drive Coordinator Bob Rosel. “Just put the food in a bag or a box by the mailbox and a letter carrier or volunteer will bring it to the post office for the Salvation Army to pick up.”

Food Drive Coordinator Bob Rosel

All food donated in Mower County will be used to help people in Mower County.

According to Rosel, the food drive raises an average of 10,000 to 12,000 pounds worth of food. Last year, the drive raised over 14,000 pounds.

The most Mower County has ever raised was over 15,000 pounds in 2009.

“We’re starting to see an increase in need for food,” said Lori Espe, director of the Austin Salvation Army food pantry.

According to Espe, there were 42 more requests for food assistance in April than in March. Of the people served last month, 188 were children, 331 were between the ages of 18 and 64 and 59 were seniors.

“The need for food normally increases during summer because children are out of school,” she said.

If you forget to leave food out on Saturday, or are unable to do so, Rosel says not to worry. Food will also be picked up on Friday, May 12, and Monday, May 15. Donations can also be brought to the Post Office or the Salvation Army.

In order to motivate Austin citizens to give, a friendly competition has been held with Albert Lea for the past few years over who can raise the most food. A small trophy has been passed between the two cities, depending on who raised the most food.

Austin is currently in possession of the trophy.

For more information about the Stamp Out Hunger food drive, call Bob Rosel at 507-261-6040 or Lori Espe at 507-437-4566.

What to donate

All donations of non-perishable food items will be accepted, but the following items are particularly needed:

•Beans (particularly baked, chili, and kidney)

•Canned Fruits and Vegetables

•Cereal

•Crackers

•Evaporated/Condensed Milk

•Macaroni and Cheese

•Pasta

•Potatoes (in cans or boxes)

•Rice

•Soup

Food gathered during the annual letter carriers food drive was piled into a cart at the Austin Post Office last year.
Herald file photo