E-T Staff Report

In an effort to stamp out hunger, postal carriers across the nation will ban together Saturday to deliver not only mail but also collect food donations from their postal customers to be delivered to the needy.

This year marks the 15th Annual Letter Carriers National Food Drive, when letter carriers in more than 10,000 American cities and towns will participate in the largest one-day food drive in the nation.

The annual effort of letter carriers, with the help of rural carriers, postal employees and volunteers has delivered more than 836.2 million pounds of donated food items to community food banks and pantries over the last 15 years. Last year alone, postal patrons contributed 70,745,176 pounds of non-perishable food items.

Participation in the event is simple. To participate, simply place a box or bag of non-perishable food next to your mailbox before the mail is delivered on Saturday. Even a single donated item can make a difference.

In 2008, the United State Postal Service and Campbell Soup Company are cosponsoring the printing of 120 million postcards to encourage the public to participate in the food drive. Campbell Soup also contributed a one-million pound canned food donation to the campaign. Cox Target Marketing and publishers of the Valpak Direct Marketing Systems, the nationwide direct marketing firm is also a major supporter of this year’s event, by promoting the drive on more than 40 million packets delivered to postal customers.

The drive also depends upon the backing of the National Rural Letter Carriers Association, America’s Second Harvest, the United Way of America, the National Association of Letter Carriers Community Services network and many local sponsors.

According to Stephenville Postmaster Lisa Montfort, it’s all about neighbors helping neighbors. In support of those who may be struggling to make ends meet, local postal employees will see that your contribution helps feed the hungry right in your community. “All the donations that we collect from our local postal customers Saturday will be delivered to H.O.P.E.,” Montfort said.