Letter carriers with the Belpre, Marietta and McConnelsville post offices will be picking up mail as usual on Saturday but they also hope to collect lots of nonperishable food items as part of the National Association of Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive.
John Harding, a letter carrier with the Marietta Post Office, said although the event has been held nationally for 20 years this is the Marietta Post Office's 18th year participating.
"They collected 70.1 million pounds last year alone nationwide," said Harding. "In Marietta we have reached on average around 18,000 pounds (a year), but our best year was 33,000 pounds."
ASHLEY RITTENHOUSE The Marietta Times
Marietta letter carrier John Harding places mail in a box on Julian Avenue in Marietta Wednesday. The National Association of Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive will be held Saturday, during which residents are encouraged to place nonperishable items by their mailboxes.
Harding said post cards were distributed to residents Thursday informing them of the food drive and empty bags were also distributed in which the food can placed.
He added that residents are encouraged to put the bags containing the nonperishable items by their mailboxes as early as possible on Saturday.
Harding said all nonperishable food items are accepted but nothing in a glass container should be donated. He said items like paper towels and toiletries are also accepted.
How to participate in the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive
National Association of Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive:
- Belpre, McConnelsville and Marietta residents are encouraged to put nonperishable food and toiletry items by their mailboxes early in the day on Saturday.
- The items will be collected by volunteers and mail carriers and distributed to local food pantries.
- Those interested in helping to collect items should meet at 9 a.m. at the Belpre Post Office, 1105 Washington Blvd.; McConnelsville Post Office, 83 South Kennebec Ave.; or Marietta Post Office, 275 Front St.
"Most of it stays at the Marietta Community Food Pantry but usually we service up to seven or eight food pantries total," he said.
Bill Farnsworth, director of the Marietta Community Food Pantry at the First Congregational Church on Front Street, said demand has increased at the pantry so donations are greatly needed.
"It's very important because this food we get will last us for a while," Farnsworth said. "We're trying to fill some empty spots we have in our store rooms and we count on it every year to help."
Harding said volunteers are needed to help pick up the items left at mailboxes. Anyone willing to help out should meet at the Belpre, McConnelsville or Marietta Post Offices at 9 a.m. Saturday.
"We try to get volunteers to come in and we send them to different sections of the city and hopefully they get the food ahead of the carrier so the carrier isn't weighed down with the food," he said. "We always comb the city twice. It's a long but rewarding day."
According to the National Association of Letter Carriers website, www.nalc.org, the drive is the largest one day food collection event in the nation.