Monroe County, PA – Local letter carriers will be picking up donations for area food pantries on Saturday, May 14, during the 19th annual National Association of Letter Carriers Food Drive.
Pocono residents can help by putting a bag or bags of non-perishable food items next to their mailbox. In communities with cluster boxes, donations can be left on top of the boxes. Postcards on the food drive are being mailed out as a reminder to residents in collection areas. This year, AARP is helping to supply bags.
“Stamp Out Hunger” is coordinated by the NALC with partners that include the United States Postal Service, Campbell Soup Company, Valpak, Feeding America, AARP, United Way Worldwide and local United Ways. The United Way of Monroe County is again a sponsor. The National Rural Letter Carriers Association is also assisting with the event.
Post offices in East Stroudsburg Borough, Stroudsburg and Mount Pocono are the main distribution/collection centers and contributions can also be brought there. Post offices in Canadensis, Pocono Summit, Tannersville and Reeders are among outlying locations that will accept donations. Besides downtown residents, rural residents with an East Stroudsburg or Stroudsburg mailing address can leave food at their mailbox.
In previous years, more than 20,000 pounds of food have been collected in East Stroudsburg and in Stroudsburg, according to Dan Murray, a letter carrier and food drive coordinator for the East Stroudsburg Post Office.
“We thank the community in advance for supporting our food drive and helping those in need,” said Murray. “Rising prices on food and fuel hurts those on limited incomes, as well as low incomes.”
Items to be donated include canned meats and fish, soup, juice, pasta, canned vegetables, cereal, peanut butter, crackers and rice. Diapers, boxed baby food and paper goods are other options.
“Donations are needed more than ever, with so many people having a tough time making ends meet,” said Mathilda Sheptak, executive director of the United Way of Monroe County. “In this challenging economy, the demand for food assistance has been increasing.”
Area nonprofits that will receive items for their pantries include: the Salvation Army, Bushkill Outreach, Pleasant Valley Ecumenical, Follow Me Foundation, Christian Awareness Ministries Ecumenical, Pocono Mountain Ecumenical Hunger Ministry, Top of the Mountain Ecumenical, Shawnee Presbyterian, Innovation Church and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Smithfield Township.
“Food items that have expired or are in glass containers should not be contributed,” Murray said. Filled bags should be placed at mailboxes before letter carriers arrive, he added.
The NALC’s food drive is the biggest one-day drive in America, with a record 77 million pounds of food collected nationwide in 2010. For more information or to volunteer, visit www.helpstampouthunger.com, call your local post office, or call United Way of Monroe County at 570-629-5657.