Letter carriers will help food banks fight hunger

File/Staff
Taten Wagner caught a can of food as he and other teens from St. Michael's Youth Group unloaded food from postal trucks during the 2005 Stamp Out Hunger Day campaign.

Letter carriers will pick up nonperishable food left beside mailboxes when they deliver mail Saturday as part of the annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, sponsored by the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Items picked up will be turned over to the Golden Harvest Food Bank.

"This is a very important food drive for us," said Carrie Jones, the food bank's events coordinator. "It's one of the largest of the year for us and others across the nation."

Last year, the food bank received nearly 94,000 pounds of food, enough for about 70,000 meals. Items such as canned soup, canned meats, canned fruits, canned vegetables, pasta, rice and cereal can be donated.

The drive will have a significant impact this year, said Barry Forde, the associate director of the food bank. "This time of the year is usually our busiest because schools are about to be out and children won't have access to free breakfast and free lunch. This will help to meet those demands.

"But in addition to that, this year we have seen a 5 percent increase in people needing food from our pantries. We expect that will not only continue but increase as the cost of gas and other things continues to rise, so this food drive is very critical in ensuring that we are able to serve those who need us."

Once the food is received, there will also be an increased need for volunteers to help sort it, Mr. Forde said. If you would like to volunteer, call the food bank's volunteer coordinator, Cynthia Cisneros, at (706) 261-0186.

For more information on the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, visit www.helpstampouthunger.com.

Reach Nikasha Dicks at (706) 823-3336 or nikasha.dicks@augustachronicle.com.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE

Place the nonperishable items in a sturdy bag next to your mailbox before your mail-delivery time Saturday. Items should be in nonbreakable containers such as boxes and cans. For more information, visit www.helpstampouthunger.com.

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