Letter carrier drive delivers for food shelvesPublished 11:16pm Wednesday, May 12, 2010
By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star
Preliminary figures show community support for the annual National Association of Letter Carriers “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive was steady this year.
Chris Cloud with the Niles Post Office said that while officials were waiting on final numbers, “we do have an estimated amount right now – we did about 26,000 (pounds of donated food) here in Niles.”
The total for the Niles branch is not complete yet, Cloud said, and postal workers will continue to pick up donations for the next couple of days but the number is similar to that of last year for Niles alone.
Branch numbers will include surrounding post offices.
“It was good and busy,” Cloud said. “It was very cold and rainy but we had lots of help and it was really great.”
For the annual drive, postal workers pick up bags of donated nonperishable food items along their regular routes – many of them left hanging by residential mailboxes in plastic bags – and that food is then donated to area food banks and food pantries.
“Every one of us,” Niles and area postal workers, are out this time each year taking part in the drive, Cloud said.
“We have 25 or 28 of the city routes and their swings and then all nine of the rural routes and their subs,” she said.
Many employees get family and friends to come out on their routes and help pick up food, “or we have volunteers from the food banks from United Way … it’s just a great day,” Cloud added.
Area beneficiaries include the Niles Salvation Army which recently told the Star they continue to see more people in need.
Though the drive most importantly has an effect on those who are struggling with hunger, it also has an affect on those postal employees.
“The spirit in the air, people and kids come running (to them) with bags of food and they run to us,” Cloud said. “It’s good to do something outside of yourself.”