In an effort to help the 49 million Americans suffering from hunger, three local post offices will be participating in the nation's largest one-day food drive on May 11.
Repeat participants, Tamaqua, Coaldale, and Lansford post offices are asking residents to contribute to the 21st annual "Stamp Out Hunger" food drive sponsored by the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) and the U.S. Postal Service. Residents can contribute to "Stamp Out Hunger" by placing non-perishable food items next to their mailboxes to be picked up by their mail carrier on the day of the drive.
"Stamp Out Hunger" is a nationwide effort by letter carriers and postal workers to provide donations for food banks during a time where their supplies are typically low. Summer is a tough time for food banks as supplies collected during Thanksgiving and Christmas food drives have since begun to run out. Since its creation in 1993, "Stamp Out Hunger" has been able to collect over one billion pounds of non-perishable food items and collected 70 million items in just the last year.
While the Tamaqua Post Office has not publicly advertised its involvement, Tamaqua carriers will be collecting items for the drive. Donations are also being accepted at that office up until the day of the event.
Coaldale and Lansford residences received public announcements in the form of brown paper bags marked with information explaining the drive in their mailboxes on May 7-8. The bags, which were provided by the Letter Carrier Union, are to be filled with donations and will be picked up by the carriers. Donations are also being accepted at both offices.
Jim Urban, an employee of the Coaldale office, said that the great thing about the drive was that it gets the community involved in a good cause.
Last year, the Coaldale and Lansford post offices collected an impressive total of 3,105 of donations. Looking to this year, the offices have no determined goal but Lori Keenly, a sales clerk at the Lansford office, said, "We just want to raise as much as we can to help our community."
Part of what they raise will be given to the "Loaves and Fishes" soup kitchen run by Pastor Marie Terry of the Christ Redeemer church. Pastor Terry has been running the soup kitchen for two years now using primarily her own Social Security money as well as small, outside donations. Because of such limited funding, Pastor Terry was ecstatic when the post office reached out to her.
"I just feel blessed that they chose me to help the public more. This is a big help to me to be able to help them," said Terry of her now increased ability to feed the area's hungry.
The "Loaves and Fishes" soup kitchen runs on the third and fourth Tuesday and the second and fourth Thursday of every month. Donations from the drive will be handed out on May 21.