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April 30, 2013

Trying to stamp out hunger

NEW ALBANY —

New Albany Branch 367 of the National Association of Letter Carriers will be doing more than delivering mail May 11.

For the 21st year, the letter carriers will be teaming up with The Salvation Army to collect nonperishable food items from city households. All 19,000 street addresses in New Albany will receive empty Kroger bags on May 9 with instruction cards on how they can donate. Residents are asked to place food items in the bag and place it near their mailbox May 11. As the letter carriers deliver the mail, they will pick up the bags of food. The donations will help restock The Salvation Army food pantry in New Albany.

On average, around 10,000 pounds of canned goods and other items are collected each year.  

“It seems like when times are tough, people give more,” said Jeff Roudenbush, a local mail carrier who helps organize the event each year.

Kroger donated 20,000 empty bags to the cause. Firefighters helped staple instruction cards to 4,000 of the bags while some residents at Mark Elrod Towers in New Albany stapled 16,000 cards to bags in just three days, finishing Monday afternoon.

New Albany’s drive is part of a nationwide effort to help make May 11 the largest one-day food drive in the country.

Roxanne Haley, business administrator with The Salvation Army, said there is a “definite need” for food in the area. She also said the annual food drive is simple for people to participate in since they don’t have to leave their house to make a donation.

“They can give whatever they want to give,” she said. “Last year, we had over 9,000 people get help from our food pantry. They can get three or four days worth of food. People are having to make choices ... child care, house payment and you have to eat. Everything is just very expensive.”

Haley also praised the group of women at Mark Elrod who helped prepare the bags to be delivered to residents. She said some took the bags and cards up to their apartments over the weekend to get them ready for distribution.

According to a release, the nation’s 175,000 letter carriers will collect food donations May 11 in more than 10,000 communities.

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