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Postal workers’ food drive successful for Loaves & Fishes

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Loaves & Fishes would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank our Postmasters and all our local letter carriers for their willingness to volunteer their time on Saturday, May 12, and to the many residents of our local communities for their generous support.

Postmasters and letter carriers from Ayer, Carlisle, Fitchburg, Groton, West Groton, Harvard, Littleton, Shirley and Still River, together with over 100 Loaves & Fishes volunteers, worked tirelessly again this year for the 15th annual National Letter Carriers’ Food Drive. The commitment of the Postmasters to organize this food drive, combined with the willingness of their letter carriers to implement it, will once again make a considerable difference in the lives of those whom the pantry serves.

This USPS-sponsored national food drive is the largest and most important food drive of the year for Loaves & Fishes. The dedication of the Postmasters at our local level to facilitate this annual food drive is crucial to its success. The need for food is always critical, not only now as we enter into the summer months, but throughout the entire year. The pantry relies on the generosity of residents within our local communities year-round to provide for the many needs of those who turn to our pantry for support. As unbelievable as it seems, many families within our surrounding communities struggle on a daily basis to keep food on the table.

The generosity of many residents in donating food, combined with perfect weather, brought this year’s total collection to nearly 22,000 pounds of food (compared to under 17,000 pounds last year, on a day marked by heavy, windswept rains). Yet during the 2005 USPS Food Drive the pantry collected nearly 35,000 pounds of food, so although we are very appreciative for the food that was received, we’re hopeful that more residents within our local communities will realize the needs of Loaves & Fishes and respond, not only during this yearly food drive, but regularly throughout the year. The success of this annual food drive is critical to Loaves & Fishes, especially at this time as we enter into the summer months when donations typically decrease. Sadly, the amount of food that we collected on May 12 is already gone, and the food supply at Loaves & Fishes is approaching critically low levels!

One needs only to visit Loaves & Fishes to realize how important regular, year-round donations are to the life of the pantry. We serve nearly 400 families every month and that requires a lot of food! Without regular, ongoing donations from our local communities, Loaves & Fishes must purchase food from the Greater Boston Food Bank and local supermarkets to supplement the pantry’s food supplies so that we can satisfy the needs of those whom we serve.

We look forward to everyone’s support of this USPS-sponsored food drive next year, which will once again take place on the second Saturday in May. But don’t wait — e-mail drives@devenspantry.org and see how easy it is to have your own food drive.

On behalf of all of us at Loaves & Fishes, please accept our heartfelt appreciation and gratitude for your support and enthusiastic participation once again in this important national event which brings much-needed food to so many local families in our surrounding towns. We kindly remind everyone that the needs at Loaves & Fishes are year-round, so please remember to give regularly and generously throughout the year, keeping Loaves & Fishes in your thoughts as you shop for your own family’s needs.

LOAVES & FISHES

Photo: Volunteers help unload the truck loaned by Kleenit Inc. of Ayer that was used to carry food from the Fitchburg Post Office to Loaves & Fishes during the Postal Workers Food Drive. From left are Dick Packard, Vicki Zimmon, Dave Swain, George Knittel, Denise Johnson, Kevin Johnson, Wayne Twombly, John Tohline, and Bill Beskalo (from Kleenit).