Post office hosts food drive Saturday

Published 12:10 am Thursday, May 7, 2015

NATCHEZ — The U.S. Postal Service’s Natchez Office will pick up more than mail Saturday.

Natchez post office letter carriers, in conjunction with the United States Postal Service, will participate in “Stamp Out Hunger,” America’s largest single-day food drive.

Last year, 42,000 pounds of nonperishable food were collected in Natchez.

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This year, Natchez Postmaster Kevin Vicknair said he’s hoping to increase that number to 50,000 pounds.

“Unless you see it, you wouldn’t believe how much people give,” Vicknair said.

All day Saturday, mail carriers will collect food donations left in — or in front of — mailboxes. Then, carriers will take donations back to the post office to be sorted and distributed to area food banks.

The Natchez Community Stewpot, Natchez Children’s Home, Natchez Battered Women’s Shelter and multiple local church food banks will receive the donations.

“Last year, we had to come back to the office several times just to unload and make room for more,” Vicknair said.

And mail carriers aren’t the only ones who get in on the fun.

Vicknair said the Natchez High School football and track teams would help collect and sort donations.

“We’ll have area boy scouts help out too,” he said.

According to Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, 50 million Americans are currently unsure where their next meal is coming from. Sixteen million of those are children.

“People always give a lot during the holidays, but this is the time when supplies start to dwindle,” said Doug Kyle, spokesperson for the Mississippi district of the postal service.

A lot of school-age children, Kyle said, get their meals during school.

However, with summer vacation about to begin, Kyle said a stable source of food might be less available.

“The food drive coming in May, it replenishes the supplies that dwindles during the holidays,” Kyle said.

Last year, postal carriers collected 73 million pounds of food nationally, feeding an estimated 30 million people.

More than 1.3 billion pounds of food has been collected since the drive began in 1993.

Vicknair said residents could drop off nonperishable food items — like pasta, canned soup and vegetables, rice and cereal — before Saturday.

“We’ll start delivering the food Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday next week,” he said. “This is a great cause that helps the less fortunate.”

For more information about Stamp Out Hunger, visit