The drive held May 9 raised 13,501 pounds of nonperishable food for Northeast Texas Food Bank, which provides food to 36 local agencies.
Northeast Texas Food Bank Director Denise McCarty said the letter carriers’ drive is the number one donation drive for the food bank, and it couldn’t come at a better time as supplies and donations to the bank tend to be lower in the summer than in other months.
McCarty said the donations also will help the food bank better keep up with the increasing requests for assistance, which are up 10-15 percent this year.
“So many are losing jobs and many others are on minimum wage, and that’s just not cutting it. They need help to make ends meet,” said McCarty. “We serve 36 agencies in Hopkins and Delta counties that feed a lot of people — churches, boys and girls homes, Meal-A-Day programs for the elderly, Community Chest and things like that.”
Each year, the people of the Hopkins County community prove their generosity and by donating tons of food to help those in need, generally 10,000 to 12,000 pounds. Last year, the local NALC chapter collected 14,654 pounds of non-perishables, an especially notable record because inflation was causing price spikes and the national economy was beginning to tank.
On behalf of NETFB and the many agencies and individuals that benefit from it, McCarty offers a heartfelt thanks to the letter carriers who sponsored the drive and the many who contributed to it.
Kyle Verner, a Sulphur Springs letter carrier and local food drive coordinator, said while the letter carriers sponsor the annual drive and bring the food in, it’s community members and businesses that make it a success. Not only do they donate, but they also helped remind and encouraged others to do so as well.
“In addition to Sulphur Springs and rural letter carriers in the 75482 zip code, we have to thank Brashear Post Office for being a part of the drive. They had their best collection year to date,” Verner said. “Most importantly, we thank the people of Sulphur Springs and surrounding county for their generosity and compassion for those less fortunate.”
The local letter carriers this year dedicated the food drive to the memory of Bethel Pendleton, who died in March. Verner said Pendleton “adopted” the postal carriers as well as many other people in the community
“Mrs. Bethel Pendleton was very special to the Post Office and embodied what the food drive is about. She showed her love and caring for people through the sharing of her food and a big smile,” Verner said.
For years, Pendleton was known to drop by various locations such as the Post Office with food and tasty treats just to show her appreciation and kindness.
“We were blessed to know her, and miss her every day,” Verner said.
He also offered a special thanks to volunteers who helped out on the day of the food drive: Kyle Garst, Kim Grant, Anthone Low, Koen Goggans, Janice Douglas, Peggy Nelson, Megan Michaelson, Zach Michaelson, Jack Landers, J.T. Grant and Tyrie Grant.
“We also are appreciative of Sears, who loaned us a Budget Rental Truck to haul the food, and to KSST, Channel 18, Star Country and the News-Telegram for helping us get the word out, and to Bankers Printing and Products for their service as well,” Verner said.
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