Letter carriers in St. Marys and Fox Township will not only be delivering the mail this Saturday; they'll also be collecting food donations from residents for "Stamp Out Hunger," the country's largest annual food drive. The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), in conjunction with the United States Postal Service, sponsors the annual food drive, which collects nonperishable food items that help to feed the hungry in all 50 states.
Dave Lenze, a letter carrier for 32 years and the St. Marys/Fox Township food drive coordinator, said the items will be collected and taken to the Christian Food Bank in St. Marys for distribution to local residents.
Donations from last year’s event put the overall national collection total since the annual drive began 19 years ago to more than one billion pounds of food. Lenze estimated that since the event began, over 75,000 pounds has been collected locally, with 6,900 pounds of food donated last year. His goal is for that number to increase during Saturday's collection event.
"Hopefully, we'll beat last year. Hopefully, we'll get 7,000," Lenze said.
Residents who wish to donate are asked to place items in a sturdy bag or container by their mailboxes. Letter carriers will collect the items while delivering Saturday's mail.
Lenze explained that local mail carriers on both walking and driving routes volunteer to collect donations for the "Stamp Out Hunger" event. Mail carriers in other municipalities throughout the county are also collecting food.
"When we're done we're tired, but it's well worth the effort," Lenze said.