Local letter carriers gearing up for 15th Annual NALC Food Drive 

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

May 6, 2007 - accepting donations of nonperishable food items or money to benefit Northeast Texas Food Bank all week.

Staff Photo by Angela Pitts

Letter carriers and Northeast Texas Food Bank are “hungry” for donations for the 15th Annual Letter Carriers Food Drive to be held Saturday, May 12. Pictured, left to right, are: coordinator Shawn Boyd, letter carrier; manager Denise McCarty, NETXFB; Tracy Loyd, post master; and Jack landers, letter carrier.   

This marks the 15th year the Sulphur Springs letter carriers have participated in the NACL food drive, which union steward and coordinator Shawn Boyd noted to be “the largest one day food drive there is” and is by far the largest food drive in town benefiting the food bank, officials there noted.

City and rural carriers for all of the Sulphur Springs area will once again be participating in the food drive, as will Brashear Post Office.

�Sulphur Springs is a really giving community to the food bank and food drive to help others. We�re so proud of how Sulphur Springs and the community always responds to help others,� Boyd said.�

The national goal for the drive is 100 million pounds of food. The local letter carriers hope to average or exceed the 11,428 pounds donated to Sulphur Springs and Brashear Post Offices for the food bank last year. In 2005, the drive brought in 10,840 pounds of food. In 2004, letter carriers raised 11,611 pounds of food, eclipsing the 2003 record by 386 pounds. That generousness puts Sulphur Springs’ collection on par with the Dallas area, including Carrollton and Lewisville.

�It�s an easy way to give. ... With gas hovering at $3 a gallon it affects grocery buying, especially those just getting by. They may have to decided to buy gas to get to work or buy groceries,� Boyd said.�

�So many organizations get food from the food bank, it helps so many. They buy for pennies on the dollar, with no one thing higher. They work with the area food bank, so if there is a surplus of one thing and if they lack another, they can trade with North Texas,� Boyd said, referring to NETFB�s affiliation with the North Texas Food Bank which is a member of America�s Second Harvest, The Nation�s Food Bank Network.

According to NETFB Manager Denise McCarty, the summer months are leaner for the bank with fewer donations which makes the NALC’s Food Drive donation that much more important.

�There is a great need in summer months,� McCarty said. �I think maybe people don�t� have a holiday drive to contribute to so they don�t donate as much. We look forward to this food from the drive to help sustain us through the summer months.�

Northeast Texas Food Bank, located at 117 Linda Drive, generally distributes about a million pounds of food each year, and hopes to be able to serve more through the 36 participating agencies which pickup food from NETFB to distribute locally. The agencies, per federal guidelines, must be 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations in order to receive food from the bank to help the people they serve. The 36 agencies ranch from churches to homes for children to programs for disadvantaged and older adults, like Meal-A-Day program.

Letter carriers are asking local residents to donate nonperishable food items in their mailboxes, in a box around the mailbox or on their porches visible to the carriers primarily on May 12. They will pickup the food while delivering mail. While the main day will be May 12, those unable to donate on that day can leave nonperishable food donations throughout the week as well.

A collection box will be set up in the lobby of the post office beginning Monday for food donations. Brookshire’s will also have an area in the front of the store in which customers can purchase food for the drive along with their regular purchases, and deposit it at the drop location on the way out of the store. Campbell is one of the drive spThe Northeast Texas Food Bank is affiliated with the North Texas Food Bank who is a member of America’s Second Harvest, The Nation’s Food Bank Network.onsors and is supposed to be setting up trays of soup that are made ready for easy purchase and donation as well.

All businesses as well as individuals are encouraged to participate in the food drive by collecting donations during the week.

Doodlebug Day Care has already pledged to once again collect food for the drive. They are hosting a contest to see which among their classes can collect the most food. Their drives, according to Boyd, are always quite successful.

�Businesses or individuals can contact Shawn Boyd or drive co-coordinator Valerie Clark at 903-885-2771 to arrange for large donations to be picked up during the week.

�We�ll take donations any time next week. Basically, Saturday is the drive, but we don�t turn down any donations. If your going to be out of town or something and can�t do it Saturday, we�ll pick them up all through the week as well,� Boyd said.

For those who wish to donate but can’t or don’t want to handle the food items, the postal service will also accept monetary donations, preferably checks made payable to Northeast Texas Food Bank in an envelop designated for the drive left either in their mailboxes or over the counter at the post office.

Donations addressed to the local food bank ensure they stay here to benefit local residents, Boyd said.

The postal service will hand out post cards Thursday reminding of the food drive.

Anyone else with ideas of other ways to be involved in the drive can also contact Boyd or Clark at the post office, 903-885-2771. For example, Sears which has the Budget truck rentals has been a big help to the drive, allowing the trucks to be used to load up the food to be weighed and taken to the food bank.

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