By Craig Moorhead

T

he 30th annual letter carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive will be held on Saturday, May 14, 2022. 

“Everything stays local, and it goes to our local food shelf here” Caledonia postmaster Julie Stortz reported. All Caledonia rural and city letter-carriers will pick up donations, “And we’ll also have a drop at the post office.,” Stortz added. “There will be a hamper out in the lobby for collections if people want to just come in.

“It’s a national event of the National Association of Letter Carriers,” the postmaster stated. “Fliers will be going out next week to every resident. There will also be signs in the lobby (of the post office)... I’m a big supporter.”

The last two NALC food drives (2020 and 2021) had to be canceled due to the pandemic. But the organization did collect monetary donations for food banks through their donor drive.

The NALC flier for the event includes the following tip for donors:  “Bag healthy, non-perishable food items and place by your mailbox for your letter carrier to pick up and deliver to food banks and pantries in your community.” Avoid glass containers.

“It gets to be a large drive because we reach every resident, city and country,” Stortz said..”We collect many, many pounds of food. It gets to be quite a staging area here, trying to get it all put together. Just in our Caledonia area, we reach about 2500 addresses, plus about another 300 in the Brownsville area... And we coordinate with eight other local post offices to get them their fliers, too.”

Caledonia food shelf director Chris Olson said that the upper yearly income limits to utilize that facility have gone up. “For a couple, it’s $52,260,” she noted. “Anybody at that and under is eligible. For a family of four it’s $79,500. We’re really trying to get that word out so people come... With rising prices, it’s just here to make everything easier for people. 

“The food shelf kind of struggles too, because we have a budget, and even the food at Channel One has went up immensely. That makes life a little difficult. Some items that are in need would be strawberry jam or jelly, any kind of juice, preferably in the 64 ounce plastic bottles, and items such as canned pineapple and peaches...

“This is just here to help. We really need people to understand that,” Olson added. “Most people have kind of paid into the food shelf because they’ve paid taxes all their life, and some of that money goes to the USDA and different programs that provide food (to food shelf operations). So they shouldn’t think of it as welfare or a handout. We’re just trying to get over that stigma. Even if both adults are working, if you meet those income guidelines just come and use it and make life a little easier.”

The Caledonia SEMCAC food shelf is located at 138 East Main St., Caledonia. Olson said that the food shelf will be open during the event, and donors can also drop off items there.

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