For many years I have been the local coordinator of the National Letter Carriers Food Drive, now in its 23rd year, taking place next Saturday, May 9, working with the local postmasters within our 9-town area to help them implement this annual, national food drive, 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, at least into the summer months when we struggle to provide food for those who turn to Loaves & Fishes at a time when donations decrease considerably.

Once again, I appeal to each of you to reach out and help our neighbors who must rely on Loaves & Fishes to feed their families. Our client base has soared in recent years, reaching over 900 families last year. Over 37 percent of our clients are under 18 or over 65, and having plentiful, nutritious food is essential for their health and well being. Please be as generous and supportive this year as you can.

In order to encourage more residents to donate and to make the donation easier, plastic shopping bags had been provided by Price Chopper, but unfortunately that sponsorship was pulled recently, not allowing enough time for another corporate sponsor to step in. Providing these bags to residents the past two years made a big difference in the amount of food we collected.

The USPS is committed to securing a new sponsor to provide bags for future food drives, as evidenced by this quote: “The biggest impact on any food drive collection, bar none, is promotion through bags that can be returned full of food. Postcards are a great reminder and introduction to the food drive for our patrons, but bags seal the deal.” That fact was clearly proven locally during the past two food drives.

I encourage everyone to respond generously this year, a year when Loaves & Fishes will be turned to more than ever to satisfy our neighbors in need, and request everyone to enthusiastically participate in the NALC Food Drive on Saturday, May 9. When your letter carrier arrives with your mail, he/she will pick up your bag(s) of food and at the end of their route, will bring them 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 on the morning of the 9th. There will be volunteers delivering the food directly to Loaves & Fishes throughout the day.

You’ll be amazed at how great it feels to donate and be part of this national effort by our USPS letter-carriers to provide much-needed food to local pantries!

Thank you in advance.

Nancy Ohringer

Volunteer Local Coordinator

NALC Food Drive