Stamping out hunger: Letter carriers pick up as well as they deliver
By BILL McMILLEN The Daily News May 15, 2017
BULLHEAD CITY — The National Association of Letter Carriers has been conducting an annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive for 25 years, gathering more than 1.5 billion pounds of food to be distributed to the nation’s needy.
Employees from the Bullhead City branch of the U.S. Postal Service have been doing it longer than that.
“Almost 30 years,” said Rob Lindsay, a former letter carrier and current maintenance mechanic at the Bullhead City facility. “I was a letter carrier back then. We hard about a food drive by the letter carriers in Phoenix and thought we good do that here. We started doing it in Bullhead City — I’m not really sure what year it was — before the national drive.”
This year, Bullhead City-area postal customers put out more than 8,000 pounds of nonperishable goods to be collected by their letter carrier. In the service area that includes Bullhead City, Lake Havasu City and Parker, the total was 19,613 pounds, according to local food drive coordinator Chris Guzzo, a Bullhead City letter carrier.
“We do it to help the people on our routes,” Guzzo said, noting that it is actually the people on those routes who make the donations to help their neighbors. Food gathered locally was divided among seven area agencies: Caring Hearts Food Ministry; the Colorado River Food Bank; Mohave Valley Methodist Church’s food pantry; Praise Chapel’s Food for Families program; Safehouse; The Salvation Army; and Set Free Ministries of Needles.
“We know more about the people on our routes than their neighbors do,” said Guzzo, noting that the need is evident as they make their daily rounds.
“Too many people in this country are going hungry,” said NALC President Fredric Rolando. “We know this to be true because we see it as we deliver to every address in America at least six days a week.”
Lindsey said each year, the work of the letter carriers, partnering agencies and the residents help ease that crisis.
“It’s definitely worthwhile,” said Lindsey as he loaded a postal cart with trays of cereal, pasta, canned fruits and vegetables and other goods collected by the local letter carriers. “We do this one day out of the year to help out the people in the (Mohave) valley. There’s definitely a need and I think we’re definitely making a difference.”