Postal carriers gearing up for food drive set May 10

DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Mayor Joe Cox delivers a proclamation to Brookhaven postal carrier Alicia Catrett declaring Saturday, May 10, as "Letter Carrier's Food Drive Day."

DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Mayor Joe Cox delivers a proclamation to Brookhaven postal carrier Alicia Catrett declaring Saturday, May 10, as “Letter Carrier’s Food Drive Day.”

Brookhaven residents are being asked to partner with the United States Postal Service and donate a special delivery of their own Saturday, May 10, in assistance with the Postal Service’s annual food donation drive called “Stamp Out Hunger.”

With help from the Brookhaven community, the USPS will be conducting a food drive, and carriers will collect food items from individual houses along their routes May 10. All carriers will then converge at one of the two post offices in town, either at the downtown office or the office on Brookhaven Street. All food donations will go to Brookhaven Outreach Ministries.

For 22 years, the U.S. Postal Service has been holding the drive. This will be the first year Brookhaven is involved due largely to the efforts of postal carrier Alicia Catrett, who recently moved to Brookhaven from Hattiesburg, and inspired the Brookhaven post offices to participate in the drive.

“It’s been a success in Hattiesburg. It’s a pleasure to bring it to Brookhaven. It really makes a difference in the community,” Catrett said.

Brookhaven Postmaster Richard M. Rogers and Catrett say the late spring timing of the drive is no coincidence. They point out that most food drives usually take place over the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holidays, leaving a real need for food at other times in the year.

In addition, the drive comes around the time that kids are just getting out of school, Catrett notes.

“Many families in the community have a difficult time trying to feed their kids once they are out of school,” Catrett said.

Besides Brookhaven, more than 80 Mississippi post offices will be participating in the drive, including Bogue Chitto, Ruth, Crystal Springs, Kokomo and Tylertown in the southwestern part of the state.

The Postal Service summarized the need in America for food in a recent press release: “Currently, 49 million Americans – one in six – are unsure where their next meal is coming from. Sixteen million are children who feel hunger’s impact on their overall health and ability to perform in school. And nearly five million seniors over age 60 are food insecure, with many who live on fixed incomes often too embarrassed to ask for help.”

Poverty and hunger are problems that exist here at home, not just in other countries around the world, Rogers said.

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 Postal Service 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, May 10.

In the days leading up to the drive, postal carriers will provide residents with plastic bags to collect the food goods in. The bags are donated by Wal-mart, Save-a lot and Home Depot.

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