Local post offices ready for Saturday's 'Stamp Out Hunger' campaign
Local letter carriers are seeking community support in their effort to “stamp out” hunger.
The 22nd annual Stamp Out Hunger drive is Saturday, with U.S. Postal Service workers serving as the muscle behind the largest one-day food collection in the nation.
The National Association of Letter Carriers started the drive in 1992 to provide assistance to regional pantries that serve Americans struggling with hunger. In 2013, 74.4 million pounds of food were collected, bringing the total to 1.3 billion pounds in 21 years.
“It gets more important every year,” said local coordinator Chuck Jarrell, who retired from the McKeesport Post Office nearly three years ago. “Little by little, funding is being cut and the need is greater. Right now, everything counts.”
It is estimated that one in six Americans is at risk of hunger.
Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank data indicates 314,840 people, including 89,250 children, in its 11-county service area are food insecure. Those individuals missed more than 51 million meals in 2011.
With so many local families affected by hunger, Jarrell said letter carriers want to do anything they can to help people in need who they encounter on a daily basis.
“We deliver six days a week,” he said. “We get to know the people. They're part of our extended family in a way. This is a natural way that we can help out.”
Letter carriers and community volunteers from local service organizations will travel mail routes between 9 a.m. and noon to collect.
Carriers from postal Branch 322 will accept donations of nonperishable food while making the 80,000 deliveries on their routes in McKeesport, White Oak, Liberty, Port Vue, Versailles, South Versailles Township, Glassport, Boston, Elizabeth, Irwin, North Huntingdon Township, Belle Vernon, West Newton, Trafford and New Kensington.
“This is a very convenient way for everyone to help those in need,” White Oak resident Eric Badstibner said. “Families can participate, and it's a great opportunity for my boys (Kyle, 4, and Will, 21 months) to see this being done.”
National Association of Letter Carriers president Fredric Rolando hopes the weather will hold out across the country.
“A lot of us have been through a pretty wild winter,” Rolando said. “Springtime has struggled to take hold in many parts of the country, so we've got our fingers crossed that Mother Nature will give us a break.”
The letter carriers' national community membership outreach coordinator Pam Donato said inclement weather is one obstacle she's sure the drive will overcome.
“We've mailed out reminders, we've renewed our relationships with local food banks, and we've got our volunteers ready for a full day of heavy bags and loaded RVs,” Donato said. “And even if the weather doesn't cooperate, we are confident that our generous patrons will step up and give what they can, no matter what.”
With rain in the local forecast for Saturday, Jarrell said provisions have been made for Mon-Yough area residents who fear their donations may be damaged where mailboxes aren't covered by a porch.
Donations can be taken to post offices at 850 Walnut St. in McKeesport and 5727 Smithfield St. in Boston. The Giant Eagle supermarket in Oak Park Mall in White Oak will be a drop-off point.
“We've made it really easy,” Jarrell said. “You can buy items right there and leave them for a donation.”
Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1956, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Ice jam wipes out McKeesport’s marina
- Elizabeth Township, McKeesport impacted by ice jam on Youghiogheny River
- Vigil at site of homicide remembers slain McKeesport plumber
- Report identifies Mon-Yough residents who are at risk in train disasters
- Winter weather likely to shorten summer vacation, delay commencement in East Allegheny
- McKeesport heritage center event recognizes famous black Mon Valley musicians
- Forward Township couple, Florida man arrested in drug sting
- Suspect in multiple Mon Valley armed robberies arrested
- Day of prayer at McKeesport church shines light on HIV, AIDS
- Mon Valley officials optimistic salt supplies will last
- Dump truck incident takes out traffic lights on Long Run Road in White Oak