“Letter carriers were collecting food for the community,” he said, “but it was like a staff sponsored thing. They would hand write bulletins, make copies of the bulletins and go out to different parking lots and put the bulletins on windshields.”
Denton explained to his co-workers and supervisors that the national drive would bring more local and national publicity to their effort.
“It’s pretty much a known tradition now that the second Saturday in May, our letter carriers join carriers nationwide for a have a Stamp Out Hunger food drive, which is the largest one-day food drive in the world,” said Denton. “Everyone can leave food at their mailboxes or drop it off at the post office. After letter carriers pick up the food, we coordinate with the mayor and city workers to get all the food delivered to the Jacksonville Christian Outreach Center.”
The drive this year collected 9,000 pounds of food for the JCOC.
JCOC chairperson Mary Agnes Hester said the center was “stocked completely. We have every room filled with food. We were so happy. We read that Calhoun County was below average in food received, but we weren’t. It’s wonderful when we have that much food.”
Hester said volunteers at JCOC have been busy giving out the food and they’re thankful for the letter carriers’ efforts.
“They help immensely,“ she said. “So much of the time we have to buy food to keep our pantry stocked because the demand is so great. How wonderful they are. They always come through. We’re well stocked now That food will last for a good while.”
Denton said that those who forgot to leave food at their mailboxes can still do so. Letter carriers will pick it up, and the post office will see that it gets to the JCOC.
He said the National Association of Letter Carriers started with a pilot drive in October 1991 and it provided so successful that it was made a nationwide effort.
Food banks and pantries suggested that late spring would be the best time for the drive, since most of the food donations are received over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays Also, school breakfasts and lunch programs aren’t available during the summer.
Denton is vice president and secretary of the National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 3344.
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