The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

May 8, 2013

Annual letter carrier's food drive set for Saturday

From staff reports
The News Courier

— Limestone County residents have an opportunity Saturday to help feed the less fortunate in the community by simply walking to the mailbox.

During the letter carriers’ annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive, mail carriers will pick up any non-perishable food items left at mailboxes.

The one-day food drive is the nation’s largest single-day food drive in the U.S., according to a release from the U.S. Postal Service. In 2012, letter carriers collected more than 70 million pounds of food. Since 1993, about 1.2 billion pounds of food has been collected.

The recipient of local food donations is Athens-Limestone Emergency Food and Shelter in Tanner. Laura Aldridge, director of the food bank, said more than 48,000 items were received in the food drive last year, and 36,000 items were received in 2011.

“We are deeply grateful to residents and to the postal workers who take their time to load this food up,” she said. “It never ceases to amaze me how great our residents are.”

Aldridge said the food drive comes at a time when the shelter’s needs are unfortunately growing. She said at this time last year, the shelter was serving about 680 local families. This year, she said, the shelter is already serving more than 1,000 families.

“It’s sad the need is so much greater, but it’s wonderful we are here to help (families),” she said. “We need more (donations), but we do what we can.”

Those who want to help with the letter carriers’ campaign can simply leave a bag of non-perishable food items next to their mailbox. Examples of acceptable items include:

• Peanut butter

• Canned soup

• Canned meats and fish

• Canned vegetables, fruits and juices

• Boxed goods (such as cereal)

• Pasta and rice

For more information about the food drive, visit http://www.helpstampouthunger.com.