Postal Service food drive drops in donations over past 2 years Harvest for the Hungry will be extended 3 days

March 14, 1997|By Ernest F. Imhoff | Ernest F. Imhoff,SUN STAFF

Harvest for the Hungry is a weak crop so far this year.

The Maryland Food Bank and the U.S. Postal Service, falling far short of expected donations of nonperishable foods, will extend the annual Harvest for the Hungry drive through Wednesday, they announced yesterday.

The letter carriers' collection of items at mailboxes and post offices, which usually lasts a week, was to have ended tomorrow. But the organizers have received only about 60,000 pounds of food. Overall, people donated 248,000 pounds last year and 500,000 pounds in 1995.

"We depend on this annual food drive to get us through March, April, May and June," said Karen Webber, a Maryland Food Bank coordinator. "At this point we don't have enough food for that period."

More agencies want help for their clients this year.

Bill Ewing, executive director of the food bank, said the agency distributes food to more than 900 suppliers, such as soup kitchens and food pantries. Since the beginning of January, 50 other charities in the state, projecting increased needs because of uncertainties caused by welfare cuts, have applied to join the bank.

"The need may not be actual now, but the agencies' fears of

future needs are real," Ewing said. "Sixteen new agencies have applied to us this month."

Webber said she was surprised more people hadn't responded to an appeal sent to 2.3 million homes Monday and Tuesday.

"We hope people are reading the fliers," she said. She offered no specific reasons for the response.

Webber reminded residents that they can leave cans and other nonperishable foods at the mailboxes or take food to post office RTC branches. Letter carriers have been picking up food from boxes throughout the area this week.

The drive's third tractor-trailer load of food was delivered yesterday to the food bank warehouse at 241 N. Franklintown Road in West Baltimore.

Pub Date: 3/14/97

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