Letter carriers primed for annual food drive Saturday

  • By Sharon Salyer Herald Writer
  • Wednesday, May 11, 2016 7:13pm
  • Local News

Reminder postcards have been sent. The yellow food donation bags have been delivered.

And letter carriers throughout Snohomish County are gearing up for Saturday’s annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive, with a goal of collecting 250,000 pounds of food.

Some, like Everett-area letter carriers Michelle Decker and Linda Kielland, are coming in on their days off or taking a vacation day to help out.

Retired letter carriers will join some 125 volunteers from United Way of Snohomish County, the Snohomish County Labor Council and community groups Saturday to help pack up the food.

Kielland has participated in the annual food drive since 1993. Her mail delivery route takes in the Everett waterfront and part of Grand Avenue. She said she’ll be driving her pickup truck on her day off to help collect donations.

“It’s a lot of fun to see what you get,” she said. “It’s almost like an Easter egg hunt.”

Chris Robinson, a spokesman for Volunteers of America Western Washington, said this year’s goal of 250,000 pounds of donations in Snohomish County is an increase of 10,000 pounds over last year.

The donations come at a key time. Food bank supplies generally are depleted of their inventory collected during holiday food drives. By May, donations generally have declined about 17 percent from the amounts donated in December, he said.

The food collected during the letter carriers drive will help food banks get through the summer, a time when kids are out of school and don’t have access to free- or reduced-cost meals at school.

Stamp Out Hunger is the largest single-day food drive in the nation, collecting more than 1.4 billion pounds of food since the drives began in 1993, according to the postal service.

To donate, leave food near the mailbox, either in the yellow plastic bags being delivered this week or in a grocery bag. Food collected in Snohomish County is distributed to 21 area food banks.

Tony Alvarado, manager of the Everett main post office on Hoyt Avenue, said he’s planning to come in Saturday to help unload the bags of food.

Some people have already begun dropping off food at the post office. Alvarado said he expects more food donations Friday, dropped off by people who are planning on being out of town for the weekend.

A barbecue and potluck are planned for letter carriers and volunteers at the main Everett post office Saturday.

“It brings us all together,” said Decker, who is vice president of the letter carriers union branch 791 in Snohomish County.

“It’s wonderful; I love doing it,” she said. “It’s amazing when you get done to see how much food we do pick up.”

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; salyer@heraldnet.com.

Needed items

Most needed items for Saturday’s Stamp Out Hunger food drive

Canned meats

Canned and boxed meals and entrees, such as soups, chili, stews, macaroni and cheese.

Peanut butter

Canned fruits and fruit juices

Liquids that don’t need to be refrigerated, such as soy milk

Low- and no-salt and no- or low-sugar foods

Baking products such as cooking oils, flour, pudding mixes.

Source: Volunteers of America

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