By Jerry Pyfer
Saturday, May 10, will be more than just another day of delivering the Rockford-area mail. May 10 will mark the 20th anniversary for letter carriers, of Branch 245 of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), picking up food donations from postal patrons on this national food drive day.
The NALC began testing the food drive initiative in 1992 with some expansion in 1993. NALC representatives working with food banks determined May was the month when local food banks would see a decrease in food donations as the traditional holiday offerings began to fade away, and summertime activities took folks’ minds off the hunger of thousands of families in need through no fault of their own.
Cartoonist Bob Keane graciously donated his “Family Circle” talents to help put a face with our message encouraging participation in the effort to “Stamp out Hunger.”
Branch 245 letter carriers of the NALC, working the greater Rockford area, joined the national operation in May 1994. Letter carriers of Rockford, Loves Park, Machesney Park, South Beloit, Belvidere, Harvard, Rochelle, Oregon, Mount Morris, Galena and East Dubuque, Ill., picked up non-perishable food items donated by postal patrons and left by the mailbox on that first Saturday of our participation and for 19 years since.
Letter carriers have received help in gathering and sorting food donations from fellow postal employees, family members, retirees, Boy Scouts, as well as local food pantries. All food donations remained within those towns for the benefit of local citizens.
Nationally, food drives have topped 2 billion pounds over 20 years of gathering donations by the public. Last year, Branch 245 totaled more than 98,800 pounds in our service region.
Saturday, May 10, 2014, Branch 245 will begin our 20th year of gathering food for the less fortunate in the service region. Your food donations are the help families turn to in their time of desperation. Together, we can make a difference.
Jerry Pyfer is the food drive coordinator for the Rockford-area region.
From the May 7-13, 2014, issue