“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 16,730 pounds of food to help the hundreds of families who are struggling with hunger right here in our hometowns. That adds up to about 8-1/3 tons. And this year, we’re hoping to do even better.”
Norwood and Westwood 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 baked beans and brownie mix – are welcome,” says Bill Discepolo, Stock and Rotation Manager at the Norwood pantry. “But right now, we particularly need canned fruit and tomatoes, fruit and vegetable juices, tuna and other canned meat, cereal, canned pasta, and boxed meals like Tuna and Hamburger Helper. “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 Anything outdated or opened has to be thrown away for health reasons.”
Norwood and Westwood are just two of over 10,000 cities and towns across America that will be taking part in the Letter Carrier’s Food Drive, which began in 1992. Over the past 21 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 1.3 billion pounds of donated food to regional food banks and local food pantries, including 74.4 million in 2013.
“We’re proud to be part of this powerful effort to help our neighbors in need,” says Food Drive Coordinator Curran. “One in every six Americans is not sure where their next meal is coming from – including 17 million children and three million seniors over 65. Veterans and military families are often affected too. 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,” adds Norwood Executive Director 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.”