The power of people coming together for a common cause – helping those who are hungry - was evident Saturday, as our community donated a preliminary 210,250 pounds of food to the 26th annual National Letter Carriers Food Drive.
The amount was tallied at the Harry Chapin Food Bank’s Fort Myers Distribution Center Saturday night. The number is preliminary because more food will still come in from other post offices in Lee County.
The nation's largest single-day food drive, called "Stamp Out Hunger," is the one day when letter carriers collect non-perishable food that has been left by residents at their mailboxes.
The drive is held by the National Association of Letter Carriers. Locally, the Harry Chapin Food Bank and the United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee Counties partner with the letter carriers to make the food drive happen. Hundreds of volunteers assisted the letter carriers with picking up the food, and also unloaded and sorted the food at various postal drop-off sites.
“We are overwhelmed by the support from our community,” said Richard LeBer, president and CEO of the Harry Chapin Food Bank. “The outpouring of generosity means we will be able to feed many more people than we did before. We are so proud of our partnership with the Letter Carriers and the United Way."
Letter Carrier George Sciascia of the U.S. Postal Service, who coordinates the food drive locally for the letter carriers, also expressed his thanks. “Year in and year out the residents here in Lee Country show that they are among the most caring folks in the nation by donating hundreds of thousands of pounds of food,” he said. “Last year your letter carriers, along with hundreds of volunteer helpers, collected over 300,000 pounds of food, and while the final results aren’t in yet, this year appears to be even better.”
All food collected in Lee County will be distributed by the Harry Chapin Food Bank and several other agencies. The food stays in our community.
“We were overwhelmed with the amount of work the postal carriers and the volunteers put into this effort,” said Jeannine Joy, vice president for resource development and marketing for the United way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee Counties. “The postal customers were so generous with the amount of food placed at their mailboxes. Thank you to all of you for helping STAMP OUT HUNGER!”
The Letter Carriers' Food Drive helps food banks and the agencies they serve stay supplied with food during the summer months, when school is out and the need is great. Harry Chapin Food Bank serves 28,000 people per week through more than 150 partner agencies in Charlotte, Collier, Lee, Glades and Hendry counties.