Stamp Out Hunger set for Saturday

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 11, 2017

By Christian Coffman

The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ — For 15 years, Natchez postal employees have joined forces with other post offices across the country to Stamp Out Hunger, an annual food drive held each May.

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Postmaster Kevin Vicknair and local letter carrier Adam M. Welch hope to collect 45,000 pounds of food this year, 5,000 pounds more than was collected last year.

“It would really amaze you to see how much food comes in (each year),” Welch said.

Welch is the president of the local branch of the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Welch said 6,000 pounds of food was collected the first year the local post office participated in the event 15 years ago. That year, no volunteers helped in the effort and all of the donations went to the Natchez Stewpot.

“Natchez has always responded well to the fundraiser,” he said. “It crosses racial lines, gender lines … this is a need that concerns everyone.”

Vicknair said citizens of Natchez could participate using the brown paper bag and instructional card left in their mailbox.

“We give the bags, all they have to do is fill them with food and set them beside the mailbox,” Vicknair said.

Natchez grocery store company, The Markets, donated 14,000 bags for this year’s food drive, Welch said. 

Vicknair and Welch strongly encourage supporters to only donate non-perishable items and to avoid donating food in glass containers.

Supporters may set out bags for collection any day this week, but Saturday will be the official collection day.

“Cub Scouts, high schools students that need community service, church youth groups and tennis teams from Natchez High are some of the people who will help us load up the food,” Welch said. 

Vicknair is in charge of coordinating the volunteers.

“This is actually a joint effort by everybody in the postal business, from management to the employees, to make this a success,” Welch said.

All donated food will be given to the Natchez Stewpot, Natchez Children’s Home Services, The Guardian Shelter for Battered Families and several local church food banks.

Natchez Stewpot Director Amanda Jeansonne said the Stewpot would work with the Natchez High School baseball team and band to help transport the canned goods.

Jeansonne said postal workers would pick up the bags of food and their trucks are expected to fill up quickly.

“They need the kids to come around and help them (transport) the food to the post office,” Jeansonne said.

“This is a big draw for us because we get a lot of food during the holidays, but donations are much fewer (this time of year),” Jeansonne said. “The timing of this is really good for us. We need the canned goods at this time.”