20th Annual Food Drive for Operation Hope
If you’ve got a few extra goods sitting around in your pantry, your friendly neighborhood letter carrier will be happy to take it off your hands. On Saturday, May 12th, the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) will be running their 20th annual “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive. All donated items will directly benefit Operation Hope’s Food Pantry.
“It’s our 20th anniversary,” said NALC President Fredric Rolando in a company press release. “For two decades now, our annual national drive has proved critical in helping millions of American families—our customers—who are struggling to make ends meet during this continuing recession.”
Last year, the NALC drive made a goal to collect one billion pounds of food nationally. They overshot the mark and gathered 1.1 billion pounds of dried goods and supplies. According to the NALC web site, the drive is the largest one-day food drive in the nation.
“Two times a year we rely on supplies,” said Ellen Redgate who runs the Operation Hope pantry. “The first one is during the holidays. This is the other time.”
Redgate went on to say that the timing of this food drive was perfect, otherwise the pantry would be “bankrupt” of food for the summer. NALC puts the statistics of hunger at 16% of all Americans—that includes one in five children under the age of 18 and four million senior citizens.
While canned and dried goods like pasta are always welcome, there are some items they need more than others. “For some reason, we are really low on peanut butter!” Redgate mentioned. They also need canned fruit, toothpaste, toilet paper, and juices.
One of the people that Redgate attributes as a key figure in getting this food drive off the ground is Marilyn Fitol, a local letter carrier who has been a part of the process for well over a decade. “We are helping people who are at risk of going hungry every day, “ she said. “I really enjoy doing that.”
Redgate said Fitol has been so dedicated to this cause that she should get an award.
You can put your donations by your mailbox and the carriers will bring the items to the pantry for distribution. Residents will receive a notice in their mail about a week before the drive as a reminder. If you miss the drive, no worries. Redgate said that the pantry is always happy to accept donations. Operation Hope is located at 636 Old Post Road.
For more information on the drive or any of the other programs at Operation Hope, please call 292-5588 or visit their web site at www.operationhopect.org. For more information about NALC, check out their web site at www.nalc.org.