By CHERIL VERNON
The National Association of Letter Carriers in Palestine will help stamp out hunger by replenishing local food banks during its annual food drive Saturday.
The Stamp Out Hunger food drive, held on the second Saturday in May, has become the nation’s largest single-day food drive benefiting food banks across the United States. Now in its 21st year, the annual food drive has grown from a regional to a national effort that provides assistance to the millions of Americans struggling to put food on the table.
In 2012, Americans donated 70.5 million pounds of food, which marked the ninth consecutive year that at least 70 million pounds were collected by letter carriers. In East Texas, nearly 78,000 pounds of food was collected by letter carriers.
“Last year we collected almost 6,000 pounds of food in Palestine,” Palestine Post Office NALC food drive coordinator Audra Gibson told the Herald-Press Wednesday.
“All of the non-perishable food items we collect stays here in Palestine to replenish the local food banks and the Stockpot. With school about to be out, we need to replenish our local food banks to help them make it through the summer.”
Usually in advance of the annual food drive, local letter carriers deliver brown paper sacks and postcard reminders about the food drive.
“We don’t have the paper sacks and postcards yet but as soon as we get them in, we will deliver them,” Gibson said.
Regardless, the public can hang a plastic bag and/or sack of canned goods and non-perishable food items from their mailbox or near their mailbox before their mail is delivered on Saturday for the letter carriers to pick up. The food items will be brought to the post office to be sorted, before being delivered to Palestine food banks.
Shane Willard, letter carrier supervisor for the Palestine Post Office, is helping Gibson coordinate the event.