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Employees collect food for nation’s hungry

Postal worker carries bag of canned goods
Letter Carrier Rita Colachagua brings Stamp Out Hunger donations to Diamond Farms Station in Gaithersburg, MD, May 12.

USPS employees collected thousands of pounds of food for people in need during the May 12 Stamp Out Hunger drive, even if the weather wasn’t ideal in some spots.

Despite cold, dreary conditions in the Midwest and near-record heat in the East, spirits remained high.

“The rain doesn’t stop us from delivering mail and it didn’t stop us or our customers from donating and collecting food,” said Chad Starkey, a St. Clair Shores, MI, letter carrier.

The National Association of Letter Carriers leads the annual one-day drive with help from the Postal Service and other partners. The collection total is still being tallied, but some local numbers are being reported.

About 100,000 pounds of food were collected in Flint, MI, along with 57,000 pounds in Columbus, GA; 38,000 pounds in Bloomington, IN, and nearby cities; and 26,000 pounds in Altoona, PA.

More than 1.6 billion pounds of food have been collected since Stamp Out Hunger began in 1993, including 75.3 million pounds last year.

Donations are delivered to local pantries. The drive is held in the spring because many school breakfast and lunch programs are about to be suspended for the summer, leaving millions of children to find alternative sources of nutrition.

About 42 million people in the United States struggle with hunger, including 13 million children, according to Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization.

In addition to collecting food, many postal workers take pride in making donations themselves.

William Hart, a Columbus, GA, letter carrier, said he donated 2-3 cases of canned goods this year.

“Anything to keep a belly full when it comes to kids who are hungry,” Hart said.

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