Letter carriers’ food drive set

Iola letter carriers hope to take away more than they deliver to homes on Saturday.
That’s the day for the National Association of Letter Carriers’ annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive. Local carriers will pick up non-perishable food items, then hand them over to the Iola Area Ministerial Alliance to stock shelves at the Community Pantry, 5 W. Broadway.
James Hunt, a letter carrier and coordinator for the local drive, encouraged residents to place food in a plastic bag and then either hang it on their mailbox or put it in a conspicuous place.
Last year about 1,400 pounds of food were collected.
“We came close to a ton one year and we’d like to top that this year,” Hunt said, noting the recession has made more people dependent on the Community Pantry and other sources of assistance.
Over half of USD 257 students qualify for free or reduced-price meals, testimony that many local families have difficulty meeting nutritional needs.
This is the 17th annual NALC food drive, the largest in the nation. Last year 73.1 million pounds of food were collected nationwide. This will be the sixth year Iola has participated.