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Groton is a kind and generous community. It is to this generous heart of Groton that I appeal to each of you to reach out and help our neighbors who are suffering during these very difficult economic times and sadly must turn to Loaves & Fishes to feed their families. It takes only one visit to our food pantry virtually any time during the year to witness how very difficult it is to satisfy the many families who must rely on Loaves & Fishes. It is difficult, as well, to appreciate that many of these families are actually residents of Groton. The current economic recession is affecting so many of our neighbors and more and more of them are turning to Loaves & Fishes for support.

Over the past several years, I have been the local coordinator for the National Letter Carriers’ Food Drive, now in its 18th year and taking place next Saturday, May 8, working with the local postmasters within our eight-town area to help them implement this, the largest one-day food collection in the country. More importantly, this is the largest and most important food drive of the year for our local food pantry, Loaves & Fishes. The hope is that the food collected on this day will supplement the day-to-day donations to the pantry throughout the summer, but sadly the shelves become depleted once again by mid-July and we struggle to provide food for those who turn to Loaves & Fishes during the summer when donations decrease considerably.

Through my involvement with this annual, national food drive, I have witnessed the amount of food collected from Groton each year, and it has been, quite honestly, very disappointing. Where sister towns like Ayer, Harvard, Shirley and Littleton respond generously, Groton has lagged way behind, bringing in a mere three or four truckloads each year. Last year the response improved, with Groton residents contributing nearly six truckloads. However, sox truckloads for some 10,000+ residents is just scraping the surface of what our potential is! Being the largest and most affluent community which Loaves & Fishes serves, Groton, we can do better! We have to do better! The year-round need is tremendous at Loaves & Fishes … Groton’s below-average response has been personally difficult to witness being a long-time Groton resident myself. Most Groton residents simply aren’t aware that there are Groton families who depend on L&F, and with the current state of the economy, more and more families are sadly finding themselves having no other alternative in order to provide for their needs.

I challenge all residents of Groton to respond generously this year, a year where Loaves & Fishes will be turned to more than ever to satisfy our neighbors in need, and encourage everyone to enthusiastically participate in the NALC Food Drive next Saturday, May 8. I challenge everyone to simply fill at least one bag with food and/or diapers or toiletries and place the bag at your mailbox on the morning of May. When your letter carrier arrives with your mail, he/she will pick up your bag of food and at the end of their route, will bring it to the Post Office. If you have a P.O. Box, you can simply bring your bag(s) of food directly to the Post Office that morning. Each P.O. will have a hamper ready to collect the food brought in, and volunteers will be in readiness throughout the day to bring the food directly down to Loaves & Fishes.

Personally, I am doubling my efforts this year and putting out two bags of food by my mailbox on Saturday, May 8 to help our neighbors in need. I challenge each of you to do the same.

Thank you in advance.

NANCY OHRINGER

Volunteer Local Coordinator

NALC Food Drive