Letter carries picking up donations this week to help 'stamp out hunger'

By FAITH HUFFMAN, News-Telegram News Editor

May 8, 2008 - Ever increasing gas-prices and just about everything else -- except wages -- are going up, and the price of food, escalated by increased costs to ship them from one locale to another, is no exception.

For some, that means having to make the choice between affording gas to get back and forth to work, and such necessities as food and medicine.

"There's a lot of people that go to bed hungry and it shouldn't be happening here," said Shaun Boyd, with Sulphur Springs Post Office, and one of the volunteers helping out this weekend with the National Association of Letter Carriers' annual food drive.

The warmer summer months are especially lean for local food banks. Many people think to contribute during the winter, especially during the holidays, but with so many people involved in so many activities in the warmer seasons, the shelves at the food banks tend to offer slimmer pickings for groups helping families with basic food needs, like Northeast Texas Food Bank.

That's what got the local National Association of Letter Carriers started years ago hosting the annual food drive for local food banks. Sulphur Springs letter carriers, assisted by rural mail carriers, have done their part hauling nonperishable goods for last 15 years. In the past, customers and letter carriers in Yantis, Brashear, Cumby and several of the other smaller area post offices have contributed to the annual Sulphur Springs food collection, which over the last few years has averaged 10,000-11,000 pounds of food, according to Sulphur Springs Post Master Larry Cole.

Last yearthe carriers collected nearly 11,000 pounds of food donated by postal customers for the food bank. Each year, they strive to collect as much as possible for the needy, hoping to beat the previous year's total.

This weekend will mark the 16th year local letter carriers will be collecting food during the NALC's Annual "Stamp Out Hunger" Food Drive. The main collection day will be this Saturday, May 10, but donations have been accepted all week in the collection box at their local post office lobby. Businesses that won't be open Saturday can donate on Friday.

Letter carriers will pick up the food while delivering mail. Postal customers should be receiving post cards in the mail if they haven't already reminding them of the drive.

"We won't have the truck until Saturday, but we'll take nonperishable items before then," said Cole. "They can set them beside the mailbox on the ground, inside or in a bag, depending on how much there is. City carriers will be leaving sacks at addresses this week

NALC does request that all donations be checked to ensure those with "use by" dates have not expired, and no glass containers and no perishable items, please. Nonperishable items may include canned meats and vegetables, soups, juice, crackers, cereal and such staples as pasta, rice and flour.

For more information about the May 10 NALC Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, contact your local post office.

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