By ROBERT S. MERRILL
Preston postal carriers will be doing more than delivering mail on Saturday, May 11. They will be collecting food donations with their counterparts across the country in the National Association of Letter Carriers “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive.
The Stamp Out Hunger drive is a nationwide effort to provide food to local food banks and pantries that would otherwise have depleted stocks during the summer months and are experiencing universal increases in demand for emergency food assistance due to the on-going difficult economy.
During last year’s local food drive, the Preston Post Office collected 7,500 pounds of food, according to Postmaster Val Porter. He said he hopes to exceed that goal on May 11 because local needs have increased.
“This year all the food collected locally will be sent to the Preston Food Pantry. We fully support our local food pantry and have a partnership with them,” he said.
“This is the only day family members of letter carriers are allowed to go on the collection routes. Their help is needed for the effort,” he said.
Helping Stamp Out Hunger in Preston and Franklin County is as easy as checking your mailbox, said Porter.
“Just leave a bag of non-perishable food where your letter carrier normally delivers your mail. Your letter carrier will then pick up and deliver the food to the post office where it will be weighed. Local Food Pantry officials will then take it to the local pantry on West Oneida,” he said.
Examples of non-perishable items include: canned soup, canned meats and fish, canned juices, canned vegetables and fruits, boxed goods (such as cereal), pasta and rice.
Now in its 21st year, the Stamp Out Hunger effort is the nation’s largest single-day food drive, having collected over one billion pounds of food since its inception in 1993, according to Porter.
Porter said to find out more about the Stamp Out Hunger effort in Preston, ask a letter carrier, contact the post office at 852-0263, visit either www. helpstampouthunger.com or www.facebook.com/StampOutHunger or follow the drive at www.twitter.com/Stamp OutHunger
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