Almost a million pounds collected in the Bi-State
By ED FINKELSTEIN
Responding to the needs of the hungry, Americans set a new record by donating 80 million pounds of food to the Letter Carriers’ annual food drive, the union announced. Bi-state metro area letter carriers collected 876,000 pounds of food:
- Greater St. Louis area: Letter Carriers Branch 343 collected 583,000 pounds in St. Louis city and county, and St. Charles, Jefferson and Franklin counties.
- In Southern Illinois: nine different Letter Carrier branches collected a total of 293,001 pounds of food. They included Decatur Branch 317, Springfield Branch 80, Alton Branch 309, Belleville Branch 155, East St. Louis Branch 319, Granite City Branch 1132, Southern Illinois Merged Branch 1197, Centralia Branch 738 and Quincy Branch 216.
UFCW’S NATIONAL MAILING
To help make the program the outstanding success it was, the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) provided a Stamp Out Hunger postcard that was mailed to every home in America reminding everyone of the drive.
The food was distributed to local food banks, charities, soup kitchens, pantries and other enterprises that feed the needy, union Letter Carriers President Fredric Rolando said.
Federal data show that approximately one of every seven U.S. residents – 50 million people – go to bed hungry each day. They include millions of children, veterans and the elderly.
Many of the non-profit food distribution groups had exhausted the food they had collected during the winter.
"These results are gratifying, because they mean that even more people will be helped," Rolando said. "As Letter Carriers, we are honored to be able to assist people in need. On a daily basis we see the struggles in the communities we serve, and we believe it's important to do all we can to help.”
The annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive is held the second Saturday each May. The food drive’s old yearly donation record was 77 million pounds.
This year’s drive marks the 13th consecutive year in the program’s 23-year history, that the drive surpassed 70 million pounds of food collected. This brings the grand total to almost 1.5 billion pounds since the annual national drive began in 1993.
Other groups aiding the food drive in addition to the UFCW were the Rural Letter Carriers, the AFL-CIO, the Postal Service, Valpak and Valsis.
(Information from PAI Press Service and Labor Tribune local sources.)