Our View...Give where you liveThis Saturday, May 11, letter carriers in Carlton County will make it easy to give to our local food shelf.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
This Saturday, May 11, letter carriers in Carlton County will make it easy to give to our local food shelf. As part of annual “Help Stamp Out Hunger” campaign, National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) are asking people to fill one or more bags with non-perishable, non-expired food and place them by their mail boxes by 9 a.m. Volunteers will help letter carriers bring in the food and distribute it to local food shelves.
The timing couldn’t be better. So many children who rely on school meal programs won’t have those meals during the summer so many families will utilize food shelves.
Captain Ruth Gibbons of the Salvation Army of Carlton County pointed out that this Saturday’s Letter Carriers Food Drive is the last major food drive until the Boy Scout drive in October. And though the community has been overwhelmingly generous in its support of the local food shelf, the need is increasing every week.
According to Gibbons, there were 56 households who utilized the local food shelf this Tuesday alone, 10 of whom were brand new clients.
“Our usage continues to grow,” she said, “and we are really counting on this weekend’s food drive to bring in enough food to restock our shelves.”
This is the national food drive’s 21st anniversary. Since its start, over 1 billion pounds of food have been collected for the nation’s food banks and food shelves.
Every donation matters. Soups, corn and beans are just some of the items that are needed. Pasta, canned meat, canned vegetables, and canned fruit are also needed. Consider baby formula, rice, and dried fruit.
It’s important to check the dates on each and every item of food, however.
“Unfortunately, there were a lot of cans that had to be thrown in the dumpster last year,” said Dorine Houck, executive director of the United Way of Carlton County. “We urge those who give to please check the expiration dates on the food before they donate.”
Gibbons said the annual Letter Carriers Food Drive involves a tremendous amount of volunteer effort from many different people. The United Way of Carlton County helps recruit volunteers to assist with the drive, including helping the letter carriers collect the food on the day of the event and also sorting donations and stocking shelves at the food shelf.
The Sentence to Serve program has also been a big help every year, helping clear out storage space at the food shelf to store the donations and moving the food from the post office to the Salvation Army via truck and trailer.
“There is no way we could do that otherwise,” said Gibbons, “and their help has been invaluable.”
She also had high praise for the letter carriers themselves for making the extra effort to help out with this annual campaign.
“For the post office to make this extra effort at the same time they are pressed themselves, it’s a real tribute to their dedication,” she said.
There is still time to sign up to volunteer at this weekend’s event. Simply call Houck at the United Way office at 218-879-8404 or Gibbons at the Salvation Army, 218-879-1693. Volunteers are needed between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. at both the post office and the food shelf.
“There is something for everyone to get on board with,” said Gibbons. “The other Salvation Army offices around the state are always saying how they can’t believe how supportive our people are for a county this size. It’s just wonderful.”
All donations collected in Carlton County will go directly to the local food shelf.
All you have to do it put your cans and boxes of food by the mailbox by 9 a.m. Saturday. Why not take this opportunity to help your Carlton County neighbors?
Give where you live.