For the last 20 years on the second Saturday in May, mail carriers nationwide have collected bags of donated food from mailboxes around the country for the Stamp Out Hunger food drive. The drive, sponsored by The United Way and The National Association of Letter Carriers, this year provided thousands of pounds of food to 11 charitable organizations in Calhoun County.
Glenn Gilbert, vice president of NALC 448, said Calhoun County has participated in the food drive for the last 19 years and that postal services across the country collected more than 1.2 billion pounds of food in 2012.
Teresa Ross, a city carrier in Anniston who coordinated the food drive here, said Saturday evening the total collected from locations in Anniston, Oxford and Saks amounted to 17,781 pounds. Based on published reports last year, that figure is substantially lower than the 31,000 pounds collected in 2012 and the 35,000 pounds collected in 2011.
Ross said around 50 rural and city mail carriers were involved in the food drive Saturday.
Dorothy Box, administrative assistant and volunteer coordinator with the United Way, finds it easy to put herself in the shoes of a postal worker. Box retired after 31 years of postal service, including 21 years as the Choccolocco postmaster.
Box said she enjoys working for the United Way because she knows she’s helping people.
“The need is so much more now than it has been in the past,” Box said.
The Rev. Jim Davis, director of the Baptist service centers, said the food donated Saturday will feed 300 families in Oxford and Anniston. Davis has been a part of the Stamp Out Hunger campaign for eight years and has seen how donations can help families in need.
“It’s a tremendous ministry they do for the community. It’s a tremendous effort all across the United States,” Davis said.
Davis said with the job market and economy still struggling to regain a foothold, his agency sees more people asking for help.
“From in their 20s into their 80s, people who have never asked for help before,” Davis said. “People with graduate degrees are seeking help.”
The clergyman said the economy has also had a negative effect on donations. In 2011, Davis picked up 20,000 pounds of food from the post office. The following year he was given nearly half of that, but he said people still give what they can.
“That’s wonderful when the community does that. It’s helping your neighbor,” Davis said.
Staff Writer Rachael Griffin: 256-235-3562. On Twitter @RGriffin_Star.