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Here's How You Can Help Local Mail Carriers Fight Hunger in NKY

One of the biggest food drives of the year to benefit low-income families in Northern Kentucky is scheduled for Saturday, May 9, and donors won’t have to go any further than their mailboxes to participate.

On that day, residents and businesses are asked to leave nonperishable food by their mailboxes, where their carriers will pick it up and get it to one of 12 nonprofits in the region that provide food assistance to people who desperately need it.

The effort by National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 374 is part of the national Stamp Out Hunger drive, the largest such event in the United States. Branch 374 carriers have participated in the event since it started nationally 22 years ago. Last year, Branch 374 collected more than 44,000 pounds of food.

The timing of the drive couldn’t have been more opportune, said Andy Brunsman, director of Be Concerned, a free food pantry in Covington that hosted more than 2,100 shopper visits in the first quarter of 2015. Food supplies swelled by holiday donations have been depleted and the drive gives agencies an opportunity to restock their shelves.

“Summer time is a slow time for donations because schools are out,” he said. “This drive helps to fill the void caused by the summer break.”

The drive makes for a long day for mail carriers, who in addition to their typical load of magazines, letters and bills, must also tote the food their route customers donate. However, carriers say it’s worth it, said Gary Smith who is heading up the effort for Letter Carriers Branch 374.

"The Northern Kentucky letter carriers serve their communities every day, six days a week, just by doing their jobs, but their commitment to service extends far beyond walking their mail routes. NALC’s long-time commitment to community service is evident at every level, from the letter carriers who organize and participate in numerous charitable events to the coordinated efforts by NALC headquarters that help the collective efforts of letter carriers have a strong, consistent impact on the national level," said Smith. "Our goal is to see the community come together for those in need and help Stamp Out Hunger!"

Branch 374 has collaborated with the Safety Net Alliance of Northern Kentucky on the drive the past four years. The Safety Net is a consortium of more 100 organizations made up of nonprofits, churches, schools, and government entities that work to eliminate duplication and maximize efficiencies in services to low-income residents.

In addition to Be Concerned, agencies that will receive food from the drive are Action Ministries in Latonia; Fairhaven Mission in Covington; Brighton Center, St. Paul Episcopal Church Pantry and Hosea House Echo Soup Kitchen in Newport; Care Mission in Alexandria; Pantry of Hope in Highland Heights; United Ministries and United Christian Volunteers in Erlanger; and the St. Vincent de Paul Society and Senior Services of Northern Kentucky. 

Staff report/Image: Stamp Out Hunger (Facebook)