Letter Carriers Volunteer to Stamp Out Hunger

By: Steve Ross Email
By: Steve Ross Email

It starts like a routine pick-up at mail boxes all across America, and winds up stocking food pantries for the needy in communities throughout the country.

Lennie Kuszak coordinated this year's National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) annual "Stamp Out Hunger" food drive: "This is our 20th anniversary. It's the largest single-day food drive in the country. Last year we went over a billion pounds collected since its inception, and 70 million was last year's total."

In Grand Island, some 2000 pounds of donated food had already been weighed and registered by noon on Saturday.

The food collected by letter carriers helped Ronnie Pilcher make it through some tough times. Now he's paying it forward, loading the larder at the distribution point, Grand Island's Salvation Army food pantry.

Ronnie Pilcher: "Even though I was working, you know... you have rent, and car payments, and bills and that, and you didn't have enough money for food, and you can come down here and they would help you out."

After the food is collected and sorted, it's put on the Salvation Army's food pantry shelves, a job which requires a strong, fast team of workers.

Regular grocery stockers load shelves from single item cases. The Stamp Out Hunger crew members first have to sort the donations, then bounce from shelf to shelf to get the food stored and ready for needy recipients.

Plenty of work to do, loading food and pushing heavy carts, but volunteers were out in force, starting younger than ever.

Fifth grade student Isaiah Magana Kuszak was one of the youngest volunteers, piloting the weighty, wheeled food bins: "Kind of heavy, it's kind of hard steering, too, but I can handle it."

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