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Letter carriers’ hunger drive May 10

Before heading out to the lake for the Minnesota fishing opener on May 10, how about making a donation to help feed hungry Lake County neighbors? That day, for the 22nd year, the National Association of Letter Carriers will be holding its Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive. They’ll do the leg-work and with support from postal service patrons and community volunteers, organizations like the Two Harbors Area Food Shelf will be able to continue serving the growing number of people experiencing food insecurity in the area.

It’s easy. Just place a non-perishable item in a bag and put it by the

mailbox so your letter carrier can pick it up when he or she delivers your mail. Your donation will be added to those collected throughout the community. All day, donations will be taken to the food shelf where they will be sorted, stored and eventually distributed to food shelf clients. Everything collected here, stays here for local individuals and families. THAFS acting director, Jan O’Donnell identified a list of items that are in particularly short supply.

“The food shelf’s highest needs are for protein items, such as tuna, canned chicken and peanut butter,” she said, “and we also really appreciate baking supplies and special dietary products, like gluten- free, low sodium and low sugar foods.” Diapers are also a welcome donation.

The NALC Food Drive began in 1992 and since that time, city letter carriers in more than 1200 communities across the nation have collected over 1.3 billion pounds of food, according to the organization’s website. Last year’s drive yielded 74.4 million pounds, the second highest amount in its history. Lake County contributed over three tons – 6,121 pounds.

Jim Anderson, Two Harbors’ acting postmaster and coordinator of the drive, said that the amount of food collected was one of the highest in the state for an area of this size. He acknowledged the hard work of many for the achievement.

“I give credit to everyone who volunteers their time. Mike Harris, the NALC steward and his wife, Karen, really put in a lot of time,” said Anderson. “We also get volunteers from the school district and we get a lot of help from businesses that donate food and beverages. Staff and drivers in the post office help…I would definitely give the credit to those people.”

Anderson said that he expects Two Harbors to continue its involvement in the two-plus decade effort.

“I think this is a very worthwhile endeavor. It means a lot to the community and a lot to the food shelf,” he said.

For those who aren’t wetting a line on the opener, volunteer opportunities are still available at the THAFS the day of the drive. Individual community members, families, scout troops, church groups, school and civic organizations and businesses are invited to call the food shelf and get on the schedule. The letter carriers and their local business supporters will be providing lunch and snacks. Whether it’s through the donation of non-perishable food items, diapers or a few hours on a Saturday afternoon, every effort can make a difference.

“The National Association of Letter Carriers Annual Food Drive is one of the important annual donation campaigns for the Two Harbors Area Food Shelf. We are blessed with amazing support from our community and from the local letter carriers,” O’Donnell said.

To discuss volunteer opportunities for the day of the NALC Food Drive, contact Jan at 218-834-2539, and for those who’d like to make a cash donation to the THAFS, checks can be dropped off or mailed to 2124 10th St., Two Harbors, Minn., 55616.