The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) and National Rural Letter Carriers Association (NRLCA) of Austin will be holding their 30th annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive Saturday May 13th.
The two organizations will hold their drive in conjunction with the 31st national carrier food drive conducted each year the second Saturday in May. They are, once again, collecting donated food after holding a money donation only drive the past three years because of COVID-19 concerns.
Carriers will be delivering bags donated by Jim’s Market Place of Austin the week of the food drive. In the past 31 years, letter carriers nationally have collected 1.82 billion pounds of food to help feed the hungry. Bob Rosel, local Letter Carrier Food Drive Coordinator stated that the two most vulnerable groups in America and Mower County for food issues are children and the elderly. Those struggling to make ends meet tend to buy the cheapest least healthy food to stretch their income and have enough money to pay other bills, and he stated that making healthy donations to food shelves is vitally important.
Letter carriers ask residents of Austin and the surrounding area to place nonperishable food items in bags near their mailboxes for a carrier or volunteer to pick up. Letter carriers will then get the food to the local food shelf. In Austin, it’s the Salvation Army. To insure all food donated is collected, they ask residents to have their food out at the mailbox by 9:00 am. However, if that is inconvenient or if they forget, carriers will collect the food whenever residents get it out, including Friday or Monday. Rosel stated in a news releaase that this is a rain or shine event. Donations can also be left at the Salvation Army or the Post Office. Monetary gifts are accepted but checks should be made out to the Salvation Army. Residents can donate directly to the Austin food shelf using https://centralusa.salvationarmy.org/northern/austin/.
Rosel stated that this is a countywide food drive and those in rural areas should check with their local post
office on how to donate. Food drives are also being held in Rochester, Albert Lea and Mason City. Rosel stressed that all food donated stays with the local food shelf, and Lori Espe, food shelf director at the Austin Salvation Army, stated that the items most needed include canned beans (baked, kidney, chili & pinto), canned fruits and vegetables, canned tuna and chicken, peanut butter, mac and cheese.