05/07/14 — Postal Service food drive Saturday

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Postal Service food drive Saturday

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on May 7, 2014 1:46 PM

To help fight hunger in Wayne County, letter carriers are collecting nonperishable foods during their annual food drive.

Letter carriers are encouraging people to put nonperishable foods in their mailbox Saturday. Or you can put it in a bag and hang in from the flag on your mailbox.

"This week we also have hampers at the post offices that people can bring their food and put in," said food drive coordinator Cliff Barker. "We'll also have them out the following week."

Barker said if someone has a lot of food that won't fit in their mailbox and they can't get it to the post office, he or she can put a note in the mailbox Saturday and the letter carrier will come to your door to get it.

Items needed are nonperishables that have not expired.

"And nothing in bottles," Barker said. "We don't want anything broken or anyone getting hurt. Basically, we want what someone can make a meal out of."

Last year, letter carriers in Wayne County collect 16,000 pounds of food. This year's goal is 16,000 pounds.

"If everyone in Wayne County would put one can of food per person per household in their mailbox, we could surpass that by probably triple," Barker said. "We could feed the whole county for just about the year."

Nationwide, the postal service has been conducting its food drive for 21 years. Wayne County has been doing it for 19 yeas.

"We do it because there's people out there that need food," Baker said. "Every year, it seems to be growing because of the economy and whatever. There's people out there who really need the food."

The letter carriers see some of that need too often while on their routes.

"One year we had a hurricane and I walked up to this one house and this little lady was sitting there and all she wanted was blackberries, that's all she wanted," Barker said. "So my wife and I went out and got her some blackberries.

"If we somebody we think might need the food, we might say, 'Hey, why don't you go down to one of these organizations and see if they can't help you.'"

The letter carriers have also seen people overly generous with their donations during the food drive.

"My first year, I walked up to the porch and there was four paper bags there and I went, uh oh, do I take this or is it what they just came back from the store with," Barker said. "I knocked on the door and asked was it for me? They said yes and I went, 'Wow.'"

The morning of the food drive, the letter carriers get a pep talk and a little extra energy for the task with donuts from Krispy Kreme. One person from each of the receiving organizations is also on hand to get the letter carriers going.

"They tell us how many people they feed a day, a week or a month," Barker said. "Some carriers are surprised by that number.

"The food drive makes us feel real good. The carriers complain until that day and then when they come back after they've picked up the food, they all say, "How much did you get? What did you get?' It makes them feel good then. It's a little extra work, but it's well worth it because we know we're making a different out there."

Organizations that will receive food from the drive are Community Soup Kitchen of Goldsboro, HGDC Community Crisis Center, Salvation Army, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, United Church Ministries and Wayne Uplift Domestic Violence Shelter.