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Cutting Saturday mail service will impact annual food drive

03.13.13

MARCH 2013, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Cutting Saturday mail service will impact annual food drive

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 2nd- This year could be the last National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Union annual food drive to be held on a Saturday if in fact the United States Postal Service (USPS) cuts mail delivery to five days a week.

The USPS announced in February it wants to end Saturday mail service to save money. Mail delivery will be from Monday to Friday.

The NALC with support from the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation have conducted the annual food drive, which customers of the USPS are asked to place non-perishable food donations near their mailboxes so that the letter carriers can collect them while they deliver mail, since 1992.

The food collected each year is used to replenish food banks which helps feed the 50 million Americans, one-third of them childeren, who live in families that lack sufficient food.

In 2012, more than 70 million pounds of food was collected by members of the NALC.

However, the elimination of Saturday mail service could decrease the amount of food collected and volunteers needed for the event. Thousands of volunteers from labor organizations participate in the one-day food drive.

Moving the event to another day of the week could prove costly because many of the volunteers work during the week and will be unavailable or be forced to take a day-off from their regular job.

Approximately 1,600 NLAC Braches nationwide are involved in the food drive, which is held on the first Saturday of each May.

The elimination of Saturday mail delivery adds to the impact of the USPS actions of closing of 13,000 post offices, cutting hours of operation, shuttering hundreds of mail processing centers, and lowering the standards for mail delivery to the country’s homes and businesses.