Postal Service extends food drive until Friday

February 20, 1994|By Robert Hilson | Robert Hilson,Sun Staff Writer

Citing weather that prevented postal carriers from delivering fliers touting its annual food drive for the hungry, the U.S. Postal Service has extended the drive until Friday with the hopes of nearly doubling last year's food totals.

"We're well off the pace. The weather was such a setback for everybody," said Richard W. Rudez, manager for customer service and sales at the Baltimore district office. "I think people are coming out of hibernation."

The third annual food drive -- during which residents give nonperishable food to letter carriers on their daily rounds -- was scheduled for last week, but many Marylanders were unaware of the effort.

Larry Adam, founder of Harvest For The Hungry and organizer of the food drive, said customers were to receive fliers that announced the drive the week before it was set to begin.

But that was the week snow and ice storms disrupted mail delivery in many parts of the state.

Although some food was collected last week, the totals were much lower than expected.

"If they can't deliver the mail, then they can't deliver the fliers," Mr. Adam said. "They just couldn't get out in certain locations. The public will respond if they know about it and don't have to fight the elements. We just got a bad break with the weather."

The goal for the drive in Maryland and the District of Columbia is 1 million pounds of food. The District did not have a food drive last year, but more than 600,000 pounds was collected in Maryland last year.

By the end of last week, the statewide totals were woefully low, Mr. Adam said.

In Anne Arundel County, only 2,500 pounds had been collected compared with more than 67,000 pounds last year; Carroll County had 2,100 pounds compared with 11,500 last year; and Howard County had 1,700 pounds compared with more than 20,000 last year.

At the Maryland Food Bank, which combines the totals from drives in Baltimore and Baltimore County, 50,000 pounds had been collected, compared with more than 260,000 last year.

"We've always raised thousands of pounds more," Mr. Adam said. "This is very low, and everybody is just shaking their heads."

In addition to having food picked up by letter carriers, donations may be taken to any branch post offices in the state.

Wayne Flickinger, marketing manager for the Maryland Food Bank Inc., said about 20 percent of the food collected is surplus or has incorrect labels and is donated by companies.

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