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Post office helps Clothes Closet and Food Pantry stamp out hunger

By Don Coble don@claytodayonline.com
Posted 5/18/23

Orange Park’s Clothes Closet and Food Pantry were closed last Monday. And that was a good thing.

The nonprofit that’s committed to feeding needy families was busy sorting through nearly 9,500 …

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Post office helps Clothes Closet and Food Pantry stamp out hunger


Posted

Orange Park’s Clothes Closet and Food Pantry were closed last Monday. And that was a good thing.

The nonprofit that’s committed to feeding needy families was busy sorting through nearly 9,500 pounds of non-perishable food collected by carriers from the U.S. Postal Service’s Stamp Out Hunger National Food Drive.

Post office workers set aside one day a year to collect and deliver food in more than 10,000 cities in the nation’s largest one-day food drive.

Local carriers delivered truckloads of food to the pantry’s office on Fromhart Street on Saturday, May 13.

“We had 114 volunteers with us on Saturday, and about 30 were clothes closet volunteers,” said panty secretary Kathy Wray. “The rest were from the community. We had a nice turnout. As usual, we stayed busy.”

The pantry used its distribution office for the drop-off. That allowed them to set up tables inside, stack the bins filled with food and leave before nightfall. The group returned on Monday to sort and stack food – the reason the office was closed.

Nearly five tons of donated food certainly will help, Wray said, but it paled in comparison to previous years.

“We collected about 11,000 pounds last year,” she said. “In past years, pre-pandemic, we typically got 20,000 pounds-plus. A while back, I remember we got 43,000 pounds.

“I think it’s indicative of the economy. People are having as much trouble filling their pantry as we are.”

Carriers will make a second sweep on Friday for food that wasn’t collected last week.

According to the post office, 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 1.82 billion pounds of food in the past 30 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. Nearly 1,500 NALC branches in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands are involved.

The United States Postal Service, National Association of Letter Carriers, National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, AFL-CIO, United Way, Vericast, Valpak Direct Marketing Systems, CVS Health, Kellogg’s, and United Food and Commercial Workers International Union are all supporting this year’s Stamp Out Hunger food drive.

Residents were asked to leave cans or boxes of non-perishable food in their mailboxes on the second Saturday in May. The post office then delivered it to food banks.