The letter carriers’ annual “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive in Port Townsend netted an average amount of food this year, but a big increase in cash donations.
Saul Samsky, the letter carrier who organizes the project, said carriers collected 7,800 pounds of food and about $2,255 in checks.
Although that’s an about-average food haul, the $800 increase in cash over last year’s donations more than makes up for it.
Port Townsend Food Bank Manager Shirley Moss said those cash donations make a big impact, since the Food Bank is able to buy food more cheaply than most donors. Her organization is part of a program that allows it to buy surplus fresh and other foods for three pennies per pound. So, at 33.3 pounds per dollar, the increased funds will yield another 13 tons of foodstuff.
The annual postal food drive replenishes food banks as they use up the food gathered in winter drives and brace for summer needs of families that rely on school-year lunch programs.
When contacted on May 13, Moss was preparing her volunteers to unload and shelve about two tons of food from the buying system.
Samsky said he was proud of his fellow letter carriers.
“This year we were greatly helped by two recently retired carriers, Bob Gunn and Ken Slough,” Samsky said. They used their own vehicles to track down en-route mail carriers and off-load donated foods so carriers did not need to interrupt their appointed rounds.
“As in every year that I have been Food Drive Coordinator, retired carrier Rick Dennison, who was Food Drive Coordinator for several years before me, devoted the entire day to helping in any way needed,” Samsky said.
One modern obstacle that Stamp Out Hunger will have to address is the increased volume of boxes in mail carriers’ trucks.
Samsky said the growth of online commerce is filling carriers’ trucks and that leaves less room for food on the day of the event. That’s where Gunn and Slough’s help was essential. It made room.
Donations can always be made to Jefferson County Food Bank Association.
This year was the 27th annual Stamp Out Hunger postal food drive, sponsored by the National Association of Letter Carriers union and the U.S. Postal Service.