By Jim Newell
Saturday is one of the busiest days of the year for postal carriers, and the Lake Orion Postal workers are doing their part to help Stamp Out Hunger.
The 25th annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive is this weekend and residents can help out their neighbors by leaving any amount of nonperishable food items by their mail box on Saturday so local postal carriers here can swoop by to pick them up.
All donations from Orion will be given to the local food bank, FISH, which serves resident in Oxford, Orion, Addison and Oakland townships.
About 30 carriers will be out collecting food, said Dee Thompson, who organized the Lake Orion Post Office food drive.
Thompson said she hopes the carriers collect 16,000 pounds of food this year. “20,000 pounds would be really cool,” she said.
Thompson said the carriers over the years have picked up everything from jelly packets to taco sauce, but said canned goods, beans in a bag, dehydrated foods, noodles and spaghetti sauce are better options.
“It’s pretty fun,” Thompson said of the food drive, adding the most difficult part is trying to deliver the mail while finding room in the mail trucks for the food.
Thompson, who has been with the Lake Orion Post Office for 13 years and has seen the need over that time and feels there is a good reason to support your neighbors. “Everybody needs help sometimes. People run into hard times and just need a little help.”
“She’s really dedicated to it. She takes charge on it,” said Postmaster Mike Losiowski. “Not everybody has a job. There are seniors and people who are unemployed who need a little help.”
The post office also accepts food donations throughout the year. “We keep a collection box in the lobby and people put food in there all year long,” Thompson said.
On FISH’s pantry wish list for May is chili, mixed vegetables, any canned tomatoes, boxed spaghetti, boxed pasta, canned tuna and canned chicken.
FISH also assists people with personal hygiene items, shampoo/conditioner, shaving cream and razors, as well as basic staples such as cereal, eggs, milk, meat, bread, soup, beverages, snack treats, garbage bags, Kleenex, and much more.
After postal carriers bring all the bounty back to the post office, volunteer drivers shuttle the food to FISH’s headquarters, 487 First St. in Oxford Twp., and volunteers begin going through items.
“After they (postal workers) hear how many pounds were donated it’s rewarding to them,” Losiowski said.
Residents are also asked to verify expiration dates. If donated food is expired it can’t be put on the pantry shelves.
Residents are also asked to place their donations in sturdy bags to help out the postal carriers who will be getting their share of lifting along their routes.
For questions, or to help out FISH volunteers on the day of the food drive, or to help sort items afterward, call FISH at 248-628-3933.
For more information about the Stamp Out Hunger food drive, visit www.feedingamerica.org orwww.nalc.org/ community-servicefood-drive.
During the 23rd annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive, the Lake Orion and Oxford postal carriers collected 37,000 pounds of food, lasting the Oxford/Orion FISH two months
Stamp Out Hunger is the largest in the United States according to the National Association of Letter Carriers and United States Postal Service.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 50 million Americans are food insecure, living at risk of hunger, including nearly 16 million hungry children, and 4.8 million hungry seniors. Individual shoppers who qualify for the once-monthly visit to FISH receive about 60 pounds of food each, and families can get up to 200 pounds of food, according to FISH.