For the 24th year in a row, mail carriers across the United States could be counted on to display concern, compassion and commitment to their postal customers and to the communities in which they work and live by volunteering their time and efforts in the Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger® Food Drive this past May 14th, 2016, the nation’s largest one-day food collection effort.
Coordinators and participants in most of the 10,000 cities and towns taking part in the drive had their local organizing efforts boosted by generally good weather. Participating letter carriers and their family members, friends and countless volunteer food drive helpers made this day possible across the United States of America.
Locally, Boyceville and Downing letter carriers collected over 1,472 total pounds! Lori Klinger represents the rural letter carriers for the Boyceville/Downing routes. She stated “We are all one crisis away from being affected or knowing someone who is affected by hunger and poverty…..why wouldn’t we give up one day to put a little extra hard work and effort into helping out local families?”
The Wilson postal carriers collected 278 pounds of food and the Glenwood City routes provided 95 pounds.
A portion of the food collected was donated to the Food Harvest Ministry for their May distribution and West CAP’s Food Access and Resource Center serving both the Glenwood City and Boyceville area residents. According to Melissa Larson, West CAP’s Food Access and Resource Coordinator, the pantry serves on average over 550 individuals per month plus helps supply resources to 66 families with Backpack and Weekend Meals during the school year to both school districts.
West CAP and Food Harvest Ministry would like to extend their gratitude to the hard working postal carriers and local volunteers, Wally and Sherry Rositzki and Harry and Sandy Christian, who volunteered again this year to take part in the largest national food drive as well as the many postal customers that willingly donated food on May 14th. The combined efforts of all involved made this a successful food drive locally as well as nationally.
Further information about West CAP can be found at www.westcap.org. Persons interested in supporting West CAP’s food pantry or other programs by making a tax-deductible gift or volunteering may contact Kristen at 715-265-4271 or visit the website.
Results from the Chippewa Valley counties
Food collection results have just come in on the number of pounds collected in a 13-county area of the Chippewa Valley during the 2016 Stamp Out Hunger food drive. Tina Dunn, Stamp Out Hunger drive coordinator for the Chippewa Valley and United States Postal Carrier for the Eau Claire Post Office, reports that 159,051 pounds of food were collected. This is a decline of 11,554 pounds from 2015 totals, which remains the highest recorded amount of food collected in the Chippewa Valley during the drive’s history.
Eleven out of 13 participating counties reported decreases in collection results. James Peters, director of marketing for United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley, which is a partner to the Stamp Out Hunger food drive to promote and recruit volunteers, says there is no single factor responsible for the decline. “The decrease in each county’s collection totals were not substantial, but when factored together, they add up to a noticeable deficit.”
Peters states, however, that in recent years, the public has been encouraged to donate dollars in lieu of food items, and these dollars are not converted to a pound equivalent and added to the total of collected food. “One dollar donated to a pantry means about $10 of food purchased through Feed My People Food Bank. Chippewa and Eau Claire County saw over $1,000 in donations. That’s $10,000 of additional food local food pantries will have thanks to Stamp Out Hunger and our community’s generosity.”
National Stamp Out Hunger coordinators posted via their Facebook page that they expect to report final results sometime in mid-June. The goal this year has been to break their 2011 Guinness world record for most food collected in a food drive: 77.1 million pounds.
All food and dollars collected for Stamp Out Hunger goes to the local food pantries in the communities where food was collected. In the Chippewa Valley, this includes The Salvation Army Food Pantry in Chippewa Falls, and St. Francis Food Pantry, Feed My People Food Bank and Trinity Lutheran Food Pantry in Eau Claire.
Stamp Out Hunger remains the largest single day national food drive. It occurs every year on the second Saturday in May, when food pantries typically find their inventory low just before the increased summer demand.