JULY 2012 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News
More than 70 million pounds of food collected by NALC
BY PAUL TUCKER
REGION- REGION, June 14th- The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Union collected more than 70.5 million pounds of food in this years nationwide food drive, at a time when hunger is a major problem because of the weak economy and workers exhausting their unemployment benefits.
According to Linda Giordano, NALC Food Drive Coordinator, the NALC annual one-day drive, the largest in the nation, was conducted in 10,000 cities and towns in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam. The event was held throughout the Lehigh Valley. Ms. Giordano stated the NALC, which represents letter carriers of the United States Postal Service (USPS), celebrated the 20 th year of the annual food drive in 2012.
“These results will enable the food pantries that we supply across the country to help feed the 50 million Americans, one-third of them children, who live in families that lack sufficient food,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said.
“Six days a week, as we deliver mail to every address in America, letter carriers see first-hand the needs in the communities we work in, and we’re privileged to lead an effort that brings out the best in so many Americans,” Mr. Rolando added.
Each year customers of the USPS are asked to place non-perishable food donations near their mailboxes so that the nation’s 200,000 letter carriers can collect them while they deliver mail.
“This drive allows letter carriers to help replenish food banks during difficult summer months when millions of children have no school breakfast or lunch programs to count on,” Ms. Giordano told the newspaper.
This was the ninth consecutive NALC food drive surpassing 70 million pounds of food collected. Several NALC Branches were still compiling their figures as of June 15th, however already this year’s total tops 2011’s 70.2 million pounds.
Ms. Giordano stated the good 2012 results were achieved despite the continuing tough economy, which made the drive all the more important.
“We could not achieve these results without the contributions of our national and local sponsors, the assistance of those groups that help our branches collect the food, and the generosity of our postal customers,” stated NALC Assistant to the President Pam Donato.
NALC members brought the food collected to local food banks, pantries or shelters, including many affiliated with feeding America, a national partner in the drive. Assisting approximately 1,600 NALC Branches nationwide were rural letter carriers, other USPS employees, civic volunteers and other members of the labor community, including the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union member truck drivers.
Other national partners were Campbell Soup Company, the National Rural Letter Carriers Association, and the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation.
Walter Klepaski, the AFL-CIO Community Services Liaison for the United Way of the Wyoming Valley, the go-between the community based organization and the labor community, stated the food drive is helping to meet a critical need in communities across America.
“Most of the general public feel this is a United States Postal Service project and do not realize that it is a project that was started by and conducted by members of the National Association of Letter Carriers union. NALC members are not mandated to pick up food in addition to delivering the mail on Letter Carriers Food Drive Day, but rather volunteer to do so on one of their busiest mail delivery days of the year, the day before Mother’s Day,” said Mr. Klepaski.