Originally posted on the Vacaville Reporter: On Saturday, the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano will participate in the Letter Carriers’ Food Drive, the biggest one-day food drive in the nation. This will be the 23rd year that the letter carriers have organized this successful event that provides residents an easy way to donate food to help “Stamp Out Hunger” in their community.
On the day before Mother’s Day, letter carriers will pick up food donations during their normally scheduled mail route. To participate, all you need to do is pick up some extra nonperishable groceries at the store or gather some of the surplus unexpired and unopened food in your pantry.
The food needs to be placed in a sturdy bag next to your mailbox, prior to your regularly scheduled mail delivery.
If you are looking for ideas of what to donate, the recipients of our many food programs can always benefit from canned items such as tuna, chicken, meat, soup, fruit, vegetables and tomato products. Other items that are needed are peanut butter, iron-rich cereal, 100 percent fruit juice, dry beans, powdered milk, rice and pasta.
Last year the Food Bank received 170,000 pounds of food from this one-day event.
It takes a lot of coordination to pull off a food drive of this magnitude. The Food Bank has to do a great deal of work behind the scenes to process the donations efficiently.
However, as always, we couldn’t do it without the help of others. Safeway and Save Mart Supermarkets help by loaning us trailers. We use the trailers to collect the donated food from letter carriers’ trucks at consolidated distribution sites in strategic locations. We rely on hundreds of volunteers to help us gather the food at these collection sites throughout the day.
This year we also received financial support from organized labor to help us purchase the bags we distributed to postal customers.
The biggest heroes of the day are the letter carriers themselves. They are the eyes and ears of their communities and they want to take action to help our neighbors who are struggling.
Residents often donate a bag of groceries as a gesture of support to not only the local food banks, but their letter carriers as well. They appreciate the hard work that letter carriers put in on a daily basis and know that this drive is important to them.
The food we receive from this food drive allows us to stock the shelves to feed children in the summer. Child hunger is more of an issue during summer than any other time of year. This is due to many low-income children not receiving the free or reduced-priced breakfast and lunches that they normally receive at school.
Letter carriers have been encouraging neighbors to help one another for 23 years through their annual food drive.
They know they are going to be extra tired at the end of their shift this Saturday. However, they will have the satisfaction of knowing that they, along with the generous residents on their routes, will have made a real difference to so many in need.