Photo by Mark Brennan
May 16, 2018 — The largest one-day food drive in the nation took place on May 12, and Florence residents participated in a big way.
The United States Postal Service conducts a high-profile collection effort on the second Saturday of May each year. The program is spearheaded annually by the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), with help from independent rural carriers.
Florence Postmaster Lisa Herbert said the collection of food from residents was well supported and carriers were pleased to be able to contribute to the goal of lessening hunger in the local community.
“We are all really happy that the food drive was a success, as everyone works so hard to make it happen. We have 12 routes that were all out delivering mail and collecting donations on Saturday. Some of the carriers got back a little early and went back out to help other drivers bring in the donations,” Herbert said. “Acting Supervisor Angie Burns was running all over town emptying the delivery trucks as they filled up with donations and bringing food back to the Post Office so the carriers could keep delivering.”
The food collected by local letter carriers was taken to Florence Food Share for distribution in the Florence area.
Florence Food Share Operation Manager Colin Morgan said the large donation comes at a good time as pantry shelves were a little low. The influx of more than three tons of non-perishable food will fill shelves and immediately make its way to community members who need nutritional support.
“On Saturday, the Florence Post Office held a very successful food drive to benefit our food share,” Morgan said. “Thanks to the generosity of Florence residents, we received 7,012 pounds of food to aid in our mission of alleviating hunger in Western Lane County.”
Morgan explained that the Post Office had distributed plastic bags earlier in the week with information about the types of food needed and where to leave donations for easy pick up by letter carriers.
The carriers then took all of the collected items back to the Post Office and transferred the donations to the Florence Food Share truck. The truck then ferried the donations back to the food share where they were unloaded and stored for future use.
Postal employees, along with major sponsors like the AFL-CIO and United Way, are credited with collecting and sharing more than 1 billion pounds of food in the last 25 years.
NALC President Fredric Rolando says letter carriers are uniquely positioned to see the families, and especially the children, that are affected by food insecurity.
“At least six days a week, letter carriers see firsthand the needs of the communities they work in,” Rolando said. “We are privileged to be able to help those in need while leading an effort that brings out the best in so many Americans.”
Last year, more than 71 million pounds of food was collected in more than 10,000 towns and cities in all 50 states. Local food banks and community assistance organizations distributed all of the donated food to nutritionally challenged clients.
“The process of transferring the donated items from the Post Office to Florence Food Share continued throughout the afternoon and into the evening,” Morgan said. “We would like to express our appreciation to all who took part, especially the exceptional Post Office employees and the wonderful food share volunteers, for making this such a successful food drive.”
Herbert emphasized the collective effort required to make the day a success.
“It was a total team effort,” she said. “The Florence community is always generous, and the Florence Post Office is happy to partner with the local community to bring these needed donations to our food share.”
Florence Food Share is located at 2190 Spruce St. and can be reached at 541-997-9110.