Letter carriers help feed the hungry with annual drive

Donations can be left on mailboxes Saturday
May. 09, 2013 @ 04:59 AM

Lee County residents can participate in the largest food drive in the country this Saturday.

The National Association of Letter Carriers Postal Food Drive is simple: Lee residents fill bags with non-perishable food and leave them on their mailboxes. Their neighborhood letter carriers then pick up the bags and take the donations to the food bank operated by Christians United Outreach Center. Last year, Lee County contributed 12,000 pounds of food to the group, which distributes boxes of food to those in need once a month.

Teresa Kelly, executive director of CUOC, said this food drive is always the agency's biggest single food drive, but she encourages people to give more than just this one time. In fact, the 12,000 pounds collected last year would have only taken care of one week's worth of distributions: Kelly said the pantry gave out between 45,000 and 50,000 pounds of food every month last year.

"I don't think people can wrap their heads around it sometimes, how much food we distribute out of this agency," she said.

Any non-perishable foods people want to distribute will help, Kelly said, although the most needed items are canned meats, boxed meals, pasta, soup, canned fruit and peanut butter and jelly.

The CUOC food pantry is located at 2885 Lee Ave. in Sanford, directly across from Static Control. Volunteers are there giving away food and helping people sign up for food stamps on Mondays from 4:30-6 p.m. and on Wednesdays and Fridays from 12:30-2 p.m. Those who want to make their own donations outside of this food drive can call (919) 774-8485 or email cuoc1@windstream.net. However, Saturday's 21st annual event will be the easiest way for people to donate to the group, said Sanford letter carrier and food drive coordinator Coleen Mundy.

"It's good for the whole community," she said. "This is something that's not going to cost you much to do."

And for people who will be out of town Saturday or otherwise can't participate on that day, the U.S. Post Office at 1200 Horner Blvd. will have a box for donations, and people can also always donate directly to CUOC or any other pantry.


WHAT: NALC Postal Food Drive

WHEN: Saturday

WHERE: In a bag on your mailbox

WHAT'S NEEDED: Non-perishables, especially boxed meals, soup, canned meat, pasta and canned fruit