Letter Carriers collect 300,000 pounds of food for Second Harvest

Volunteers at the Sun Ray Cub Foods distribution site included members of ATU Local 1005, Second Harvest staff and Boy Scouts from Woodbury.

St. Paul Letter carriers collected more than 300,000 pounds of non-perishable food items May 12 during their union’s annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive. The estimated total is a slight improvement over last year’s total – and a big boost for emergency food shelves maintained by Second Harvest Heartland in the East Metro area.

Branch 28 retiree Frank Garhofer (right) helps letter carrier Rich Franklin unload a mail truck filled with donated food.

The total reflects donations collected in St. Paul and the eastern suburbs by members of Branch 28 of the National Association of Letter Carriers, which sponsors the food drive nationwide.

Perry Schmidt, a letter carrier who helps coordinate the food drive for Branch 28, said the estimate is “almost the same as what we collected last year,” but is likely to grow when cash donations, still trickling in to the union offices, are converted into poundage and included in the total.

This year’s food drive, Schmidt added, benefitted from warm, sunny weather and an expanding network of community volunteers, who helped letter carriers transfer donations from mail trucks to semi-trailers at distribution sites across the Twin Cities.

“It probably went off as good as it’s ever gone off,” Schmidt said. “Every year it gets better. You don’t even have to ask for volunteers anymore. The word is out, and there’s just a lot of people who want to do it.”

In its 20th consecutive year, Stamp Out Hunger is the nation’s largest one-day food drive.

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