Putting a dent in hunger
While there is no doubt that local residents didn’t eliminate hunger all together on Saturday with their food donations, they certainly put a dent in it.
According to Larry Boardman, Monticello postal carriers and volunteers collected 8,148 pounds of non-perishable food items that will benefit three local food pantries during the 21st Annual National Association of Letter Carriers’ “Stamp Out Hunger” campaign.
Boardman, a Monticello letter carrier and this year’s food drive organizer, said that despite worries early in the day, this year’s drive surpassed the total amount of food collected last year by approximately 50 pounds.
“We were pleased with the amount of food collected,” he said. “And, the important thing to remember here is that all of the food donated by our local residents stay right here in the area to help our neighbors. We (letter carriers) are out on the streets everyday and we see the need. The ‘Stamp Out Hunger’ campaign gives us the opportunity to give back to this community and it is something that we took very seriously.”
The “Stamp Out Hunger” campaign is the nation’s largest single-day food drive and is one of many ways the community gives to help individuals and families meet their basic needs. The need for food in Drew County, like many others in Southern Arkansas, is significant.
In addition to carriers picking up food from local residents, Boardman said that Monticello Middle School, Piggly Wiggly and Mazzio’s Pizza played a intricate role in Saturday’s success.
“MMS and Piggly Wiggly worked to collect food items to donate and Mazzio’s will provide a pizza party to Shari Scriber’s class, which collected the most,” he added. “Mallie Mullins was the student who collected the most with 96 cans. We want to thank each of these individuals who helped raise food for the cause.”
Boardman said that although the food drive meant longer hours and more work for the letter carriers, everyone was on board and willing to do whatever was necessary to make a difference in the community.
“A lot of mail carriers have a personal connection with the residents they serve,” he said. “Saturday’s efforts meant double-duty. We’re delivering mail and picking up food at the same time. It made for a long day, but it was worth it.”
When the collection was done for the day and the food was packed and weighed, it was distributed to Pauline Baptist Church, Revival Center and Immanuel Baptist Church, who each have food pantries aimed at feeding the less fortunate.
If you missed Saturday’s food drive and want to donate you can always do so directly at any of these three food banks. There is always a need for canned goods, crackers, cereal, dried fruit and juice.
NALC President Fredric Rolando said that the efforts that go into the nationwide effort are tremendous.
“All of the hard work, the planning, the meetings, the checklists — all of that pays off,” Rolando said. “And, our customers who need this food will be the true beneficiaries of this massive, nationwide effort.”
Last year, the food drive gathered more than 70 million pounds of food, bringing the 20-year grand total to 1.2 billion pounds.