Post office food drive takes place next Saturday
Published 8:00 am Friday, May 6, 2016
Just as they do every Monday through Saturday, postal workers with the Dowagiac branch of the U.S. Postal Service will be out, rain or shine, in full force Saturday, May 14.
Only instead of just delivering and picking up mail from area residences, they will also be doing a little Good Samaritan work on the side.
The post office is again asking local residents for help with the USPS’ national Stamp Out Hunger food drive that morning, requesting that people leave nonperishable food items outside their mailboxes that morning. All donated food will be picked up postal workers or volunteers, which will then be taken back to the post office, where it will be sorted and then delivered to a number of local food pantries serving families in Dowagiac and the immediate area, said Dowagiac Postmaster Leah Sovine.
The office will be assisting four local food pantries this year: ACTION ministries, First Christian Church, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and Keeler Church of God, Sovine said.
“They [the pantries] really appreciate the help this time of year,” Sovine said. “[Because] their stocks are usually down following the holidays, now is a great time for people to step in and lend them a hand.”
Dowagiac postal workers will be among the hundreds of USPS employees pitching in around the country for Stamp Out Hunger, which the national postal service has organized the past 24 years. The local post office has participated for the 16 years, Sovine said.
Dowagiac residents usually donate around 8,000 pounds of food items every year, though the office only collected around 6,500 pounds last year due to the rainy weather conditions, Sovine said. For this year’s drive organizers are looking to bounce back and collect 8,000 or more pounds, she said.
As with previous years, postal workers will be assisted by a team of volunteers to help collect, sort and deliver food items, comprised of a handful of former mail carriers, high school students and others throughout the community, Sovine said.
“It’s always a pretty vusy day for us, handling both the mail and the drive,” she said. “We couldn’t do it without help from our extensive list of volunteers.”
People who don’t wish to leave food outside their mailbox box the day of the drive can also place items inside the box, or can drop them off at a collection box at the post office in the days leading up to or immediately after May 14. People can also call the post office at (269) 782-6300 to arrange to have a volunteer pick up their food items the day of the drive.
With an estimated 1 in 6 Americans facing food insecurity, the postal service is asking that Dowagiac residents join the effort to help Stamp Out Hunger later this month.
“Every little bit helps,” Sovine said. “You don’t have to give a whole lot. Even just an item or two will help.”