Postal workers’ food drive to begin Saturday

by Dawn Throener

Spring cleaning means more than just cleaning out the cabinets — it also means cleaning out the cupboards. And this weekend, getting rid of hidden cans of food will be as easy as putting them next to the mailbox.
The seventh annual National Food Drive, sponsored by the National Association of Letter Carriers, begins Saturday.
“The letter carriers picked a great time of year,” said Lynn Annis, community relations person for Second Harvest Food Bank. “Most people donate food during the holidays, but this time of year gets hard because kids are getting out of school, and families struggle because of the additional meals.”
Michele Downs, president of the St. Paul NALC said each year’s goal is to break last year’s numbers. According to the NALC, more than 390,000 pounds of food were collected by Twin Cities letter carriers last year.
The association sent postcards to residents of the Twin Cities informing them of the drive this week, said Ann Mielke, letter carrier and public relations representative for the food drive. However, residence halls at the University were not contacted to participate in the drive.
“It never occurred to us,” she said. “We wouldn’t even know where to look.”
Nevertheless, David Spight, director of Pioneer Hall, said that although he was unaware of the food drive, he will look into putting a container for food in the lobby.
Mielke said they’re looking for nonperishable foods such as macaroni and cheese, canned meats and sauces.
“One time, I found a garbage bag filled with 15 or 16 boxes of cereal,” Mielke said. “That was a wonderful donation.”
Annis also encourages people to donate personal-care products. People should ask themselves what they need, because those products will work for others as well, Annis said.
Those living in apartments can leave food in the entryway, Annis said.
“Just beat us to the punch getting there,” she said.
If patrons miss the Saturday pickup, letter carriers will pick up food left on Monday. Those wanting a special pickup can call 612-781-9858. Others can drop off food at all post offices.