By Sue Moore
Why is food scarcity prevalent in the United States? Or Kalamazoo County, or south Kalamazoo County? It doesn’t seem possible for individuals and families to be without food.
But Danna Downing, executive director of South County Community Services (SCCS) is on the front line in the battle to help those in need. She knows about the struggles. She sees them every day.
To combat the food scarcity, her agency and many others across the nation – with help from a huge corps of volunteers whose jobs take them into every neighborhood in the nation – conduct an annual food drive on the second Saturday in May.
Letter carriers in more than 10,000 cities and towns across America collect the goodness and compassion of their postal customers, those who participate in the Stamp Out Hunger National Food Drive. It’s the largest one-day food drive in the nation.
Led by letter carriers represented by the National Association of Letter Carriers, with help from rural letter carriers, other postal employees and other volunteers, the drive has delivered more than a billion pounds of food the past 24 years.
Carriers collect non-perishable food donations left by mailboxes and in post offices and deliver them to local community food banks, pantries and shelters.
Last year alone, nearly 6,700 pounds of goods were donated within the three post offices represented by Vicksburg, Schoolcraft and Climax-Scotts. A bit of competition developed among the three postmasters. The breakdown of amounts collected was 3,098.5 pounds of usable food for Vicksburg and 3,099.2 pounds for Climax-Scotts. Since the Climax-Scotts routes are smaller than Vicksburg’s, that represents quite an outpouring of support from that area.
Schoolcraft has a much smaller area for its carriers. Yet they still managed to bring in 490 pounds and are looking to do even better this year.
The most important thing for donations is that the food must not have reached an expiration date; otherwise the food must be discarded. Collection bags are provided by the letter carriers several days in advance of the food drive. Residents are asked to will fill them up and place the bags by the mail boxes by Saturday, May 12 before the carrier gets out to deliver mail. The carrier will do the rest.
The food will be sorted by volunteers at South County and placed in their pantry, where it is available for needy families. With one in six adults and one in five children struggling with hunger county-wide, the drive is one way you can help those who need help the most.