May 11 is letter carriers’ food drive day

The National Association of Letter Carriers’ food drive will take place on May 11. Food collected that day will benefit the Gila County Food Bank. Photo provided.

For nearly 30 years, letter carriers have held an annual food drive, collecting non-perishable food while making their rounds.

The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Branch 704 will conduct its 27th annual National Food Drive next Saturday.

Letter carriers will collect non-perishable food items that day for distribution to the community food bank.

Area residents are asked to place their food donations in a bag or box and leave it by their mailboxes on Saturday, May 11.

“Your letter carrier will pick up your donation and deliver it to the food bank. Help us help your community,” said NALC Food Drive Coordinator Tiffany Eggert.

She calls it “the largest one-day food drive in the nation.”

“Over history, a number of branches collected food for the needy as part of their community service effort,” Eggert said in her April 26 press release.

In October 1991, letter carriers in 10 cities held a pilot drive modeled on one conducted by NALC Branch 576 in Phoenix.

The goal was to assist “the many community food banks, food pantries and homeless shelters throughout the nation,” she said.

“It proved so successful that work began immediately on making it a nationwide effort,” Eggert said.

When a revamped drive was organized for May 15, 1993, “the result was astounding,” with more than 11 million pounds of food collected, she said.

Both Globe Mayor Al Gameros and Miami Mayor Darryl Dalley have proclaimed Saturday, May 11 to be Letter Carriers’ Food Drive Day in their respective communities.

Gameros read the proclamation at the April 23 Globe City Council meeting, while Dalley did the same at the April 22 Miami Town Council meeting.

NALC Branch 704 represents all Tucson letter carriers as well as many other post offices in Southern Arizona.

For the past 25 years, the NALC Branch 704, the U.S. Postal Service and the AFL-CIO have joined together with local community food banks for the annual food drive, the proclamation reads.

“The food drive effort is a community-based endeavor and all food items donated remain within each local community to serve the needs of the community,” it states.

Last year, letter carriers with NALC Branch 704 collected more than 268,591 pounds of food in Southern Arizona.

In reading the proclamation, both Gameros and Dalley offered “our appreciation and admiration for our local letter carriers for the enthusiasm and unique contribution they are making toward the betterment of our community.”

Longtime Globe Post Office employee Justin Brandt said, “It all goes here locally” to the Gila Community Food Bank.

“We usually get a couple of tons,” he said.

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