A record 73.4 million pounds of food was collected during the 2009 National Association of Letter Carriers’ (NALC) Food Drive.
Letter carriers, rural carriers, other postal employees and civic organizations pitched in May 9 to help collect nonperishable food left by mail boxes. The food was collected by letter carriers as they delivered mail along their postal routes in more than 10,000 cities and towns in all 50 states and U.S. jurisdictions. It is the nation’s largest one-day effort to "Stamp Out Hunger."
"This is an amazing testimony to the generosity of the American people even as they themselves struggle to make ends meet in these hard times," said NALC President William H. Young. "Our members take pride in being able to serve their postal customers and help them assist millions of needy Americans, including many working families, children and the elderly."
Preparing for success
A lot of work goes into the food drive campaign every year including kick-off events to encourage local media to advertise the date, and Postmaster efforts to enlist the help of local businesses and civic organizations.
In Toledo, for example, NALC Branch 100 members played a basketball game against a team of local celebrities and media representatives.
Toledo Tip Off. NALC Branch 100 members played a basketball game against a team of local celebrities and media representatives to bring attention to the annual food drive.
Admission to the game, played at a local high school, was one or more non-perishable food items. "There were more than 300 spectators at the event," said Customer Relations Coordinator Craig Cummings.
Other offices, many without city delivery, participated for the first time this year. "This was our first time collecting for the food drive," said Austin, IN, Postmaster Gary Densford. "We collected 628 pounds of food."
In Hillsboro, OH, Postmaster Curtis Pegram spent four weeks on a crusade urging the town’s mayor, city council members, church leaders and grocers to get involved in the food drive.
Hillsboro, OH. Local Civil Air Patrol members and Girl Scouts helped postal employees collect and deliver food.
And his efforts paid off. Hillsboro employee’s collected 12,747 pounds of non-perishable food items compared to a mere 800 pounds collected last year.
"When I shared the good news with a manager at the Freestore/Foodbank, she broke down in tears," said Pegram. "She said demand was up 20 percent while donations were down 10 percent at the food bank.
"I was overwhelmed by the number of people who wanted to help out with this year’s food drive, especially small grocery store owners who I contacted about hanging signs in their stores," he said.
"Hillsboro, by all accounts, is at the top of the chart this year," said NALC Branch 43 President Jerry Giesting. "What’s so neat about the food drive is all of the food collected stays in those small communities."