Organizers hoping for big returns on 19th annual food driveby Julie Siple, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — U.S. postal workers will collect non-perishable food Saturday as part of an effort to fight hunger.
The National Association of Letter Carriers is holding its 19th annual food drive, the biggest single-day food drive in the nation. Last year's drive brought in nearly 1.8 million pounds in Minnesota and 77 million pounds nationwide.
Mike Zagaros is President of the National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 9 in Minneapolis. He said postal workers do this every year because they see people are struggling.
"We're the eyes and ears in the community," Zagaros said. "We're out there six days a week. We know when people are hurting. We see the foreclosure notices and everything else. We know there is a need."
About one in ten Minnesotans lives in a home that struggles with hunger. Organizers are asking people to put non-perishable foods — things like canned soup or pasta — in a bag near the mailbox. The food will go to food banks or food shelves in the state.
"Canned protein items are one thing that we really need, such as tuna," said Jennifer Woodford, of Channel One Food Bank and Food Shelf in Rochester. " Woodford said canned fruit is always welcome, as well as complete meals, something the client just needs to add one thing to like Hamburger Helper.
"Those help stretch family budgets," she said.