Our community sent a strong message through the National Letter Carriers Food Drive Saturday that fighting hunger is a high priority. The preliminary total donated in Lee County for the 27th annual drive is 185,479 pounds of food.
The amount was tallied at the Harry Chapin Food Bank’s Fort Myers Distribution Center Saturday night. The number is preliminary because more food will still come in from other post offices in Lee County.
The nation’s largest single-day food drive, called “Stamp Out Hunger,” is the one day when letter carriers collect non-perishable food that has been left by residents at their mailboxes.
The drive is held by the National Association of Letter Carriers. Locally, the Harry Chapin Food Bank and the United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee Counties partner with the letter carriers and several other agencies to make the food drive happen. Hundreds of volunteers assisted the letter carriers with picking up the food, and also unloaded and sorted the food at various postal drop-off sites.
“The generosity of our community is overwhelming,” said Richard LeBer, president and CEO of the Harry Chapin Food Bank. “We want those who volunteered their time and donated food to know we appreciate them, and that their support will go a long way toward helping our neighbors in need. We are also thankful for our partnership with the Letter Carriers and the United Way, which helps make this happen.”
Retired Letter Carrier George Sciascia, who coordinates the food drive locally for the letter carriers, and Alexandra Roman, assistant district representative for the National Rural Carries Association, also expressed their thanks. “Every year the people right here in Lee County step up in a big way,” they said in a joint statement. “We’d like to thank our letter carriers and the hundreds of volunteers who turned out to help, as well as the good folks at the United Way for their organizational support. Most of all we want to thank you, our friends, neighbors and relatives here in Lee County, for making our food drive a big success.”
All food collected in Lee County will be distributed by the Harry Chapin Food Bank and several other agencies. The food stays in our community.
“We would like to say, THANK YOU to the postal carriers, the volunteers, and all of the residents who put food out at their mail boxes,” said Jeannine Joy, vice president for resource development and marketing for the United way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee Counties. “The food collected today means so much to our residents.”
The Letter Carriers’ Food Drive helps food banks and the agencies they serve stay supplied with food during the summer months, when school is out and the need is great. Harry Chapin Food Bank serves 28,000 people per week through more than 150 partner agencies in Charlotte, Collier, Lee, Glades and Hendry counties.