Postal workers deliver for needy

Published 11:43 pm Monday, May 16, 2011

Selma postal carrier Sharon Hill, left, and Delores Pinkston, supervisor customer service U.S. Postal Service, stack some of the hundreds of bags of non-perishable food items collected by local postal carriers during the organization’s annual food drive. -- Desiree Taylor

On Saturday, mail carriers from the U.S. Postal Service did more than just deliver and pick up your mail; they collected food for a hungry family.

From Saturday morning until evening, workers made stops at local and rural residences and picked up large brown paper bags filled with non-perishable food items to bring to local food banks.

“We do this once a year in May and the objective is to stamp out hunger,” Selma postmaster James Howard said. “We started last Tuesday and placed bags in mailboxes to inform the public about the drive. About 60 percent of the total 18,000 delivery areas in Dallas County and surrounding counties participated.”

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The nationwide project, beginning more than 20 years ago, is a collaborative effort between the Postal Service and the National Association of Letter Carriers. Postal services everywhere pitched in during the largest one-day food drive in the nation to collect millions of pounds of food. Last year, the group collected more than 77 million pounds of food and the effort continues to grow.

According to poverty statistics, more than 49 million working Americans, children and the elderly, live in food-insecure households, or homes that don’t have consistent access to enough food to live a healthy lifestyle.

With bags and bags piled on top of one another inside the local office, Howard said donations on Monday poured in.

“Selma is a very low-income area and the drive has helped a lot of people,” Howard said.

Joseph Breckenridge, USPS spokesperson, said the timing of the food drive is to help food banks when the donations that traditionally pour in over the holidays begin to decline.

“This comes along and causes a surge in supplies for food banks,” Breckenridge said. “Children are getting out of school and free lunches or breakfasts are no longer available, so for those households who are financially stressed, they can benefit from the food, which is important.”

Breckenridge said major corporate sponsors, like The Campbell’s Soup Company, Feeding America, AFL-CIO and United Way, have helped in the efforts.

Campbell’s donated more than a million pounds of food to the cause and truck services have also pitched in to help deliver food products.