The 22nd Annual Letter Carriers’ Food Drive will be conducted Saturday, May 10. This drive is the major supplier of food to the Newtown Salvation Army Food Pantry, which is located within the office of Newtown Social Services.
“Too many people in this country are still going hungry every day,” National Association of Letter Carriers President Fredric Rolando said. “As letter carriers, we see this firsthand in just about every community we serve. But we aren’t the type of folks who simply move on to the next delivery and hope someone else will do something about it. Instead, for more than two decades now, our members have taken the lead in the effort to help solve this ongoing national problem.”
Last year, with the help of thousands of volunteers, letter carriers all across America collected more than 74.4 million pounds of non-perishable food — the second-highest amount since the drive began in 1992, bringing the grand total to just under 1.3 billion pounds.
“Helping local support organizations deal with this post-holiday lull in donations is the main reason we hold our national drive on the second Saturday in May,” said Mr Rolando, who added that since many school meal programs are suspended during summer months, millions of children are left scrambling to find alternate sources of nutrition.
Food banks and shelters usually benefit from an upswing in charitable donations during the winter holiday season. By springtime, however, their stocks tend to dwindle to critically low levels.
There are several ways local residents ages 12 and older can help next weekend.
First, leave a bag of nonperishable food items by your mailbox as early as possible on the morning of the May 10. Remind your neighbors to do the same. Check cans and boxes to be sure that they are unopened and not expired.
Also, residents are asked to leave their donations in plastic bags, or paper inside a plastic bag, to make it easier for all the pick-up and drop-off locations the bags will be going through. Plastic bags will be reused at the food pantry when food is given to clients.
For USPS customers who have a post office box, as well as for those who would feel more comfortable making their donations directly, a collection bin will be set up inside the Newtown-Sandy Hook Post Office at 5 Commerce Road.
A second way to help is to volunteer to drive a designated route to pick up the bags that have been left by the mailboxes. Pick-up begins around 10 am and takes two hours or less. Two person teams are best, with one person who can drive and a second who can grab the bags. Social Services can put people together if residents want to sign up but don’t already have a partner.
Sorting food is the third way to help. Once food is delivered to Social Services at 3 Main Street (Town Hall South), volunteers are needed to help unload the cars and sort the food. Volunteers can work from one hour to all day.
This is an excellent community service opportunity. Social Services provides pizza, snacks and cold drinks throughout the day. Many volunteers return each year, and newcomers are always welcome.
Anyone interested in volunteering, or who needs additional information, can call Newtown Social Services at 203-270-4330.