Will Walk For Food

Foodbank employee Kate Hartman carries a bin of food brought back to the post office by route volunteers / Photo by Bethany Prange

Calling all volunteers! Calling all volunteers! We need your help!

Stamp Out Hunger, the annual National Letter Carrier’s Food Drive, is Saturday, May 12, 2012, and we still need volunteers!

This is no ordinary volunteer gig! For one day, you will be helping to feed the thousands of individuals struggling with food insecurity in the bi-state region. Plus, you will be performing a great service for your local U.S. Postal Service letter carriers.

Many people don’t realize that during Stamp Out Hunger, it is solely up to the letter carriers to pick up the donated foods left on porches and next to mail boxes across the country. As you can imagine, this amounts to thousands upon thousands of pounds of food that need to be lifted and carried to mail trucks up and down the streets of our cities and towns.

Our letter carriers generously donate their time and energy to picking up the donated food, but would certainly appreciate any extra “hands for helping.” In the immediate St. Louis metro region alone, the St. Louis Area Foodbank has several locations where you can donate a few hours of your time to this project.

Now, we know this work sounds hard. It is. But it is also a lot of fun and very rewarding – you get to see tangible results of your work. You’ll be picking up and sorting food donated by your fellow St. Louisans and helping it get to the Foodbank, where it will go straight to those who need it most.

As an added bonus, you’ll receive a free t-shirt and lunch!

On May 12, we have openings for both route and dock workers.

Route volunteers duties:

• Follow the mail carrier to the beginning of their mail route and park your vehicle

• Walk up and down the designated streets of the mail route, collecting the bags of food

•  Carry the bags of donated food back to the carrier’s mail truck

• Walk neighborhood streets, looking for signs of donated food on porches, in paper or plastic bags and/or hanging from their mailboxes.

The route volunteers are essential in lighting the load on our letter carriers.

“By having a volunteer pick up donated food from customers takes a huge weight off our letter carriers shoulders and is deeply appreciated,” says Bob Rapisardo, Vice President/Financial Secretary of the National Association of Letter Carriers – Branch 343.

In addition to the route volunteers, we also need dock workers. At each designated Post Office location, the letter carriers rely on these volunteers to quickly unload and sort the food.

Dock worker duties:

• Choose a Post Office location and meet there at the designated time

• Unload bags of food being dropped off at the loading docks by the Letter Carriers

• Sort and load the food into large cardboard boxes that will then be transported by Foodbank drivers

Sign up for dock work and route worker volunteer responsibilities here:https://stlfoodbank.volunteerhub.com/Events/Browse.aspx

Even if you are unable to volunteer on May 12, you can still help by placing a bag of non-perishable food items around your mail box. Once the food is picked up from the houses it is taken back to a nearby postal site, sorted and loaded on to a Foodbank vehicle.

The food will be distributed to our partner agencies – food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters – on Monday morning! The community is one of the major factors in making this food drive a success. So please get involved and give back to your neighbors in need!

    Casey Milton is the food donations coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank

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