For a second year in a row, Osceola will not participate in the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive.
Part of a nationwide collection effort by the National Association of Letter Carriers, the drive is typically held the second Saturday in May.
Like last year, local carriers feel it has become too difficult to manage the collection alongside high volumes of mail including packages and advertisers.
“In an ideal situation we have one route and a sub for each route,” said mail carrier Sandy Hopkins. “In normal years the carriers would run their route and the sub would get the food. It’s an immense amount of food. We would bring in 2,000 or 3,000 pounds of food in one day. Now with all the packages and advertisers, we don’t have the room and the man power.”
For years, Stamp Out Hunger was the largest annual drive for Osceola’s food shelf, The Open Cupboard. Now, volunteers with the organization are wondering whether they’ll be able to make up for the loss.
“We would receive over a ton of food from this one day,” said Open Cupboard volunteer Sherry Hanson. “Because of this decision, I am hoping that everyone will make an extra effort to drop off a donation of food or money at The Open Cupboard.”
Rosanne Anderson, founder of The Open Cupboard, noted that any decline in food donations means higher grocery bills for the organization. The Open Cupboard has spent $9,000 on food so far this year. Anderson noted that monetary donations are down more than $13,000 from a typical late April.
Additionally, the Stamp Out Hunger drive typically helped the food shelf stock up before summer, when donations typically decline.
“The food we would get helped us a great deal during those months,” Anderson said.
Still, food shelf volunteers were sympathetic to the mail carriers’ plight.
“I do understand why the postal carriers would find it hard to also pick up and store the food in their cars,” Anderson said. “Did you ever see how packed they are with all the Amazon boxes besides the mail?”
And according to Hopkins, the letter carriers would have liked to help.
“We hope people still bring food in,” she said. “It’s a great cause.”
Food shelf volunteer Hanson noted that the upcoming giveBIG online donation campaign offers a chance for people to donate what they might have spent on canned goods. The official date of the campaign is April 30, but the website, www.givebigSCV.org, is already live and accepting donations for this year’s event.