Mail carriers to collect food for poor as they walk their routes tomorrow

May 13, 1994|By Karen E. Ludwig | Karen E. Ludwig,Contributing Writer

Mail carriers in the Baltimore area will collect nonperishable food from residents along their routes tomorrow as part of a nationwide food drive.

Residents of Baltimore and Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties can leave canned goods and dry goods such as cereal, pasta, rice and beans near their mailboxes. Carriers will collect the food as they deliver mail and bring it to area food banks. Food also can be dropped off at local post offices.

Last year, the association collected more than 12 million pounds of food, said Joseph Portera, president of Branch 176 of the National Association of Letter Carriers. This year, with more than three times as many postal branches participating, the goal is 40 million pounds.

"It's extremely efficient, because these people are already walking these routes anyway," said Bill Ewing, director of the Maryland Food Bank.

The drive comes at a good time for local food banks, because donations tend to drop off during the spring and summer months.

The Harford Food Bank, for example, usually has enough food to last two months but now doesn't even have enough to last a week, said its director, the Rev. William McNally. He attributed the shortage to the harsh winter.

"People have a tendency to think that once winter is over, hunger is over, too," he said. "And it really isn't. It keeps going on."

Nearly 2,000 carriers from the Baltimore Postal District, Branch 176, will participate in the food drive, which is sponsored by the National Association of Letter Carriers. The carriers volunteered to conduct the food drive as a result of seeing the many needy people on their routes, Mr. Portera said.

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