Local letter carriers will be doing double duty at area mailboxes Saturday, delivering and collecting the mail while also collecting donations of food.
The effort is organized as part of the annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive. Area residents will be receiving midweek information on how to take part in the Saturday effort by leaving bagged non-perishable food items at their mailbox. Bags will accompany the information cards.
According to Pilot Mountain Postal Clerk Angela Lachappelle, a primary organizer for the area, letter carriers from the Pilot Mountain, Pinnacle, Westfield and Ararat post offices will gather donations for delivery to the Pilot Mountain Outreach Center. Volunteers, including the South Westfield Ruritan Club, will also be lending a hand in some areas.
Non-perishable food items, not in glass containers or with a past-due expiration date, are being requested. Donations may be placed inside mail boxes or on the ground beside the box. Residents may use their own bags for double-bagging if needed.
Donated items will become a part of food packages to be made available to local residents who may be hungry or struggling to feed their families.
This marks the twelfth year the Pilot Mountain Post Office has taken part in the national drive, billed as the nation’s largest annual one-day food collection event.
According to the National Association of Letter Carriers, the 2014 drive saw carriers collect approximately 71 million pounds of food donations nationwide — the 12th consecutive year that the 70-million-pound mark had been eclipsed. Over 1.5 billion pounds of food have been collected since the first drive in 1993. This will mark the drive’s 25th anniversary.
According to Pilot Mountain Outreach Center Co-Director Jimmy Caparolie, the drive is one of three major efforts held early in the year that are vital in providing the food distributed by the center throughout the year. The two other annual efforts are the Friends Feeding Friends food drive and the “Scouting for Food” Boy Scout and Cub Scout food drive.
“We’ve been told this is a big day for the outreach center,” Lachappelle said, “and we’re glad to be able to help. It takes a little effort but it’s a good way to give back.”
“But we couldn’t do this without our communities,” she continued. “We want to encourage everyone to give what they can, even if it’s only a couple of cans. That may not seem like much but it can add up and make a big difference.”