Laurel letter carriers holding annual food drive

Laurel letter carriers and directors of local food pantries flank Laurel Mayor Laurel Johnny...
Laurel letter carriers and directors of local food pantries flank Laurel Mayor Laurel Johnny Magee who holds a proclamation declaring Saturday "Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive Day."(City of Laurel)
Published: May. 10, 2023 at 5:14 PM CDT
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From City of Laurel Public Information Office

LAUREL, Miss. (WDAM) - Postal carriers, by the nature of their profession, collect and deliver letters and parcels on a regular basis.

Come Saturday, they’ll be collecting and delivering hope to those hungry and in need.

Laurel’s local letter carriers and food pantry directors are combining for the 32nd “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive hosted by the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Each year, residents are encouraged to place non-perishable food items in or near their mailboxes for their letter carrier to collect. All of the items collected by letter carriers are distributed to local food banks.

Those wishing to participate may place non-perishable, non-expired food items including peanut butter, canned goods, rice, dried beans, pastas, powdered milk, wheat, flour, and corn meal, in or near their mailboxes on Saturday for their letter carriers to collect.

Pantries can not distribute items that are past their use or sell by dates.

Since its inception in 1991, the annual food drive has collected and distributed more than 1.82 billion pounds of food.

Laurel Mayor Johnny Magee issued a proclamation recognizing the event as “Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive Day” in the City of Laurel.

Items collected in Laurel will benefit the Good Samaritan Center and the Glory House Ministries’ Bread of Life Center.

Both organizations provide food to people in the community and operate on a combination of support from the Mississippi Food Network, the United Way of the Pine Belt Region, and, most importantly, private donations from community members.

“Every can helps,” said Beverly Odom, director of the Good Samaritan Center.

Her organization provides 200 to 250 hot-plate lunches daily, Monday through Friday, and Odom expects those number to soar as schools let out for the summer.

“Drive through, and we’ll hand you a plate out,” Odom said. “Anyone can drop in and get a good meal. We are all about nutrition. It’s not just a sandwich and a bag of chips.”

The GSC also helps provide groceries to families in the community.

“The elderly depend on us to supplement what they can’t do,” Odom said. “It makes you feel good to know that you are contributing to help someone else.”

The Bread of Life Center, part of Glory House Ministries, focuses on sending bagged groceries home to families in need and provides dried beans and pastas, canned foods and fresh meat and produce to 900 to 1,000 families in 10 counties.

“These kinds of things help keep us alive,” BOLC director Grant Staples said of community food drives.

Shareka Cooley, vice president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, has been with the post office for four years and is looking forward to her first Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive Day.

“Last year, we had a good turnout, but we’re expecting more than ever this year,” she said. “It’s very important for people in the community to participate. It’s easy to do and it’s an honor to be able to help the less fortunate.”

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