The men and women who visit your home almost every day going largely unnoticed are stepping up to make sure the poor and hungry in our community get recognized.
On Saturday, Scotland County mail carriers, joined by fellow professional letter carriers throughout the United States, will collect food donations from mailboxes as part of the 21st annual National Association of Letter Carriers Food Drive.
Tasked with “stamping out hunger,” local letter carriers are encouraging Scotland County residents to leave non-perishable food items in bags beside their mailboxes to be collected on May 11.
Planning for this year’s food drive is currently in its final stages as more than 1,400 NALC branches, letter carriers, families and thousand of volunteers prepare to help collect, sort and distribute the donated food.
“All of the hard work, the planning, the meetings, the checklists — all of that is about to pay off,” NALC President Frederic Rolando said this week. “And our customers who need this food will be the true beneficiaries of this massive nationwide effort.”
When the donations do reach those in need, they will come at just the right time, Rolando said.
“Since food pantries and other service organizations are pretty much tapped out by the time our drive rolls around, this fusion comes at just the right time.”
Isiah Wright of the local NALC Branch 1128 agreed with Rolando’s assessment, adding that school aged children are particularly in need over the late spring months.
“This is the time of year when food supplies are at the lowest levels … (and) many children will be missing that hot lunch that schools normally provide,” said Wright, Scotland’s food drive coordinator.
According to Wright, those without traditional mailboxes may still visit their local post office to make a donation.
Locally, in excess of 12,000 pounds of food was donated during the 2012 edition of the food drive — with more than 70 million pounds donated nationwide — and organizers have said that they hope to exceed that total in 2013.
“It’s fun to set goals, to strive for better collection numbers and to break records,” Rolando said.
A total of 1.2 billion pounds of food have been collected over the event’s two decade history.
“All any of us ask is that you try your best to collect as much food as you can. Helping our customers feed their hungry families is our real goal,” Rolando added.
According to the NALC, their food drive is the country’s largest one-day food collection effort in existence.