DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Director of the National Association of Letter Carriers for the state of Mississippi, Alicia Catrett (from left), Olivia Kimble, Tristan Catrett, Ella Olin and Dante Laurich hold up signs to educate the community on the importance of Brookhaven's first-ever "Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive." The drive is sponsored Saturday by the National Association of Letter Carriers, with help from the United States Postal Service.
DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Director of the National Association of Letter Carriers for the state of Mississippi, Alicia Catrett (from left), Olivia Kimble, Tristan Catrett, Ella Olin and Dante Laurich hold up signs to educate the community on the importance of Brookhaven's first-ever "Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive." The drive is sponsored Saturday by the National Association of Letter Carriers, with help from the United States Postal Service.

Coming up Saturday: Residents reminded of postal food drive

Published 10:58am Friday, May 9, 2014

Eleven-year-old Ella Olin held up a sign with her friends Thursday afternoon that expressed their hopes for Saturday’s upcoming food drive.

“Let’s make a difference this year in Brookhaven,” the sign read, a declaration of hope that as many Brookhaven residents as possible will take part in the “Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive,” put on by the National Letter Carrier’s Association with assistance from the U.S. Postal Service.

Brookhaven postal carriers have been handing out cards informing residents of what and how to contribute to the food drive in recent days. They have also been giving out bags that are meant to hold the food items mentioned in the card.

In front of the Save-a lot on Thursday, Alicia Catrett, food drive coordinator for the National Letter Carrier Association, and the children volunteers were reminding shoppers to get ready. Nine-year-old Olivia Kimble held up her own sign that read: “1 in 5 children in the U.S. are hungry,” a reminder to the community of the importance of the drive.

Earlier in the week cards and bags went out in local mailboxes. Now Brookhaven and area residents are asked to place bags with donated, non-perishable food items next to their mailboxes Saturday. This means that all allowable food donations, specified on the mailed card, will need to be ready for pickup Saturday.

Postal carriers will collect the bags of food from the addresses along their routes and bring the donations to a central location at the post office on Brookhaven Street. There, the carriers and post office staff will work hand in hand and organize the food items, before donating them to the Brookhaven Outreach Ministries.

Catrett said they have already received a large anonymous donation for the drive. She is hopeful that as many people as possible are made aware of the food drive. “We just need some publicity, and the donations usually speak for themselves.”

For 22 years, the National Association of Letter Carriers has been holding the drive. This will be the first year Brookhaven is involved, due largely to the efforts of Catrett, who recently moved to Brookhaven from Hattiesburg, and inspired the Brookhaven branch to participate in the drive.

Last year, 74 million pounds of food was collected by postal carriers nationally, feeding an estimated 30 million people. More than a billion pounds of food has been collected since the drive began in 1993.

The NALC encourages residents to leave non-perishable foods, such as canned soup, canned vegetables, pasta, rice or cereal next to their mailbox prior to the time of regular mail delivery on Saturday.