By SHERI GASSAWAY
Despite a rainy day, letter carriers from NALC Branch 343 collected 388,615 pounds of food in this year’s Stamp Out Hunger campaign.
The 23rd annual event was held nationwide on May 9. Letter carriers from Branch 343 picked up non-perishable food donations that day as they delivered mail along their postal routes.
Robert Rapisardo, NALC Branch 343 vice president and financial secretary, attributed the event’s success to the letter carriers, area residents and hundreds of volunteers. The food was donated to the St. Louis Area Food Bank and other pantries and shelters in the communities served by Branch 343.
“We were really pleased with the results from this year’s event,” Rapisardo said. “Even though we had rain the day of the pickup, the feedback was awesome, and the best part is that the food goes back to the communities we serve.”
Branch 155, which represents much of the Metro East, from Edwardsville south to Waterloo, reported that it collected 71,250 pounds. Also, Branch 309, based in Alton, collected 27,896 pounds
UNIONS HELPING UNIONS
Rapisardo said he was also grateful to the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), which donated money on behalf District Council 58 to pay for 100,000 sturdy, paper collection bags that were distributed to homes a week before the food drive.
Additionally, Dierberg’s, whose employees are represented by United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 655, donated 50,000 bags, he said.
“We really appreciated the unions stepping up to the plate,” Rapisardo said. “We collect two to three times more food when we deliver bags to residents prior to the event.”
MORE UNION INVOLVEMENT
Rapisardo said he hopes to enlist the help of more local unions moving forward with the annual event. He said Branch 343 typically needs at least 300,000 bags to completely saturate the area it serves.
“We’d love to get labor more involved with next year’s event,” Rapisardo said. “In addition to bag donations, we could use more help on the street delivering and picking up the bags.”
NALC Branch 343
NALC Branch 343 represents several major post office hub sites in St. Louis County, as well as associate offices in the Missouri counties of Audrain, Dent, Crawford, Franklin, Jefferson, Phelps, Scott, St. Charles, St. Francois and Wayne.
For more information on Branch 343, call 314-241-4297 or visit branch343.org.