The Ottumwa Courier

Wapello County

May 7, 2014

Post office stamps out hunger

OTTUMWA — Mail carriers will double the weight they already have to carry in their letter bags.

"No doubt their load gets heavier. But when you talk to them, [you find] they actually look forward to that," said U.S. Postal Service spokesman Richard Watkins.

Just leave a nonperishable food donation in a bag by the mailbox on Saturday, and the postal carrier will do the rest.

Watkins told the Ottumwa Courier that the postal service supports the Stamp Out Hunger effort, but it's the carriers and their organization, the National Association of Letter Carriers, who have been collecting food across the country one day of the year for more than 20 years.

"Our carriers do a great job," Watkins said.

Last year, he said, your mailman was part of a group that brought more than 70 million pounds of canned and other goods back to the post office.

He said carriers appreciate the help of co-workers who want to see the local food bank get a boost. Mail handlers, supervisors, clerks, mechanics and others help sort and transport food.

"We all think of those in need, the homeless, or those who don't know where their next meal is coming from, especially children," said Watkins.

He said the timing of the event in May is well thought out. Around the Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays, people are in a more giving mood. In the summer, the less fortunate may be forgotten.

"Especially as children get out of school in May and won't get school lunches [because they] are no longer available in the summer," he said.

Watkins said the Stamp Out Hunger effort is listed as the largest one-day food drive in the nation.

— To follow Mark Newman on Twitter, check out @CourierMark


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