Norwood Letter Carriers' Food Drive to be Held May 12
Leave a bag of non-perishable food items out with your mail to donate.
On Saturday, May 12, the 20th annual Letter Carriers’ Food Drive will take place in Norwood and Westwood and local volunteers are hoping everyone on their postal routes who is able will participate.
“This is the largest one-day food drive in the country,” says Jack Curran of Norwood, Vice-President of Local 742 of the National Association of Letter Carriers (AFL-CIO) and Food Drive Coordinator. “Last year, in Norwood and Westwood alone, letter carriers collected over 14,000 pounds of food to help the hundreds of families who are struggling with hunger right here in our hometowns. And this year, we’re hoping to do even better.”
Residents who wish to participate are asked to leave one or more bags of food by their mailbox on the appointed Saturday, marked for the Letter Carrier’s Food Drive. The food will then be picked up as carriers go about their regular mail deliveries, taken to a central location for sorting, and then delivered to both the Norwood and Westwood pantries.
“All types of non-perishable food – from peanut butter and jelly to coffee and fruit and vegetable juices – are welcome,” says Bill Discepolo, Stock and Rotation Manager at the Norwood pantry. “But right now, we have a particularly urgent need for canned fruit, tuna and other canned meat, baked beans, canned pasta like SpaghettiOs and Chef Boyardee, and boxed meals such as Tuna and Hamburger Helper and Pasta Roni.
“The only requirement is that all cans and boxes must be new and in good condition. Anything outdated or opened has to be thrown away for health reasons.”
If you’d like to do even more to help, a large number of community volunteers are also needed to help with the sorting on Monday, May 13.
“This will take place at the Parish House of the First Baptist Church at 71 Bond Street in Norwood,” says Ruth Taeger, Executive Director of the Norwood pantry. “You can volunteer to work from 9 a.m. to noon or 6 to 9 p.m. – or both, if you’re feeling particularly tireless. We need lots of willing hands and strong arms – plus people with pick-up trucks for hauling food to storage facilities. No need to call ahead. Just mark your calendar, show up, and pitch in!”
Norwood and Westwood are just two of the 10,000 cities and towns across America that are taking part in the Letter Carrier’s Food Drive, which began in 1992. Over the past 19 years, the efforts of letter carriers represented by the National Association of Letter Carriers – with the help of rural letter carriers, other postal employees, and numerous other volunteers and sponsoring organizations – has resulted in the delivery of over one billion pounds of donated food to regional food banks and local food pantries, including 70.2 million in 2011.
“We’re proud to be part of this powerful effort to help our neighbors in need,” says Food Drive Coordinator Curran. “While the economy has recently taken an upward turn, a lot of people are still having trouble making ends meet. One in every six Americans is not sure where their next meal is coming from – including 14 million children and nine million seniors over 65. We see the need every day on our routes, and we feel this is a great way to lend a hand.”
“The Letter Carriers’ Drive is probably the single most important day for our pantry all year,” said Taeger. “We depend on it to get through the lean summer months – when donations always dip because people are so busy or away on vacation – and into the fall.
“The people of Norwood and Westwood have always responded to the Letter Carriers’ Drive with a huge outpouring of generosity. And we thank each and every one of you – carriers and donors alike – for caring and sharing.”