Letter carrier food drive to support Neighborhood House

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published May 10, 2017

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ROCHESTER/ROCHESTER HILLS/OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — Local letter carriers are inviting the public to “Stamp Out Hunger” this week by helping to replenish a local food bank.

Local letter carriers and other volunteers will collect donations left at mailboxes on Saturday, May 13, and deliver them to the Rochester Area Neighborhood House’s food pantry for the National Letter Carriers’ 25th annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive.

The effort is the nation’s largest single-day food drive, having collected more than 1 billion pounds of food since its inception in 1993.

“Last year, our branch was No. 1 across the nation,” said Robyn Williams, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 320, which covers 11 offices in north Oakland County. “We picked up over 250,000 pounds of food, and we would like to go over that this year and keep our No. 1 title.”

Letter carriers and volunteers in Rochester, Rochester Hills and Oakland Township collected over 30,000 pounds of food to help support the food pantry during last year’s event.

“It is our favorite day to deliver (mail) because we actually get to reach out to the communities that we serve every day,” Williams said.

Sally Anglim, volunteer coordinator for the Rochester Area Neighborhood House, said there are many ways to support the food drive this year.

“We are trying to make it as easy as possible for the letter carriers, because they have a big enough job as it is,” she explained.

Volunteers are needed to help pick up food donations in their vehicles along letter carriers’ walking routes, to monitor drop-off locations, to unload trucks and to sort the food that comes in. To sign up, contact the Rochester Area Neighborhood House at volunteer@ranh.org.

To donate to the food drive, residents are asked to fill a grocery bag with nonperishable food and place it at the mailbox May 13. An updated wish list of the items most needed by the food pantry can be found at www.RANH.org/wish-list. Some of those items include oatmeal, cereal, canned mixed vegetables, canned fruit, peanut butter, pasta, pasta sauce, canned tuna, canned chicken, canned beans, rice, applesauce, tea bags, and personal health items, including toothpaste, soap, shampoo and conditioner.

“Personal care items are important because if our clients use a Bridge card, they can’t use a Bridge card for those products, so it is important that we stock them,” said Anglim.

Most residents in the area should receive a folded grocery bag in the mail prior to the event as a reminder. All food collected stays local, helping feed hungry families in the community during the summer, which Anglim said is a time of particular need.

“It is a critical time for food donations, as kids are finishing the school year and parents will have to provide two more meals per day at home,” she said.

The drive also comes at a time when the food pantry shelves start to look bare.

“We receive a lot of food at the holidays and with the schools that do their big drives in November, and then we have smaller donations at the beginning of the year, but this is when we start seeing our stores getting lower, so it is a perfect time for us to receive donations,” Anglim said.

Last year, the Neighborhood House food pantry served over 4,000 local hungry individuals and families with over 235,000 pounds of food.

“It really is neighbors helping neighbors, because this food will not leave our area and it will benefit families here,” she said.

For more information on the National Association of Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, visit www.nalc.org/community-service/food-drive.

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