On Saturday, the National Association of Letter Carriers will hold their 19th annual Stamp Out Hunger National Food Drive. Although the drive is a national effort, it takes on a distinctly local feel in Seekonk.
"It's one day a year where people leave nonperishable food at their mailbox. At the end of the day we bring it to Doorways here in Seekonk," said Seekonk postmaster Diane Gagne.
Letter carriers across the country will collect nonperishable food items from residents when they deliver the mail on Saturday. It makes for a busy day but the carriers are happy to take part in this important initiative.
Bob Penacho is a retired letter carrier from Seekonk. He oversees the drive and has done so for several years. "The folks at Doorways are great. They'll have a crew there and sort it all out," said Penacho of the end destination for all donations.
Penacho also warned of some easily avoidable problems from past years. The main problem was people not getting the word or realizing too late that it was the day of the food drive. Remember that donations are picked up when your mail is dropped off.
Another key problem in case of inclement weather is that wet donations are much more difficult for carriers to handle. If you have the option, please try to leave you donations under and awning or other covering where it will stay dry.
Despite minor issues like these, the drive has always been a successful endeavor by the letter carriers union and the United States Postal Service. Last year, the food drive collected a total of 77.1 million pounds of food nationally.
When local donations have all been picked up, they will be delivered to Doorways food pantry in North Seekonk. The fact that the donations remain in the area and go to help the needy here in Seekonk is a source of comfort for some residents.
"I'm just glad it stays here in Seekonk and they don't take it to Providence like they used to," said Seekonk resident Beverly Hart.