Letter carriers here Stamp Out Hunger

Published 5:47 pm Saturday, May 12, 2018

Three hundred and sixty four days a year letter carries return to the post office at the end of their routes with empty trucks after delivering that day’s mail.

But one day each year, those trucks come back to the post office overflowing with donated food to help those in need.

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Saturday marked the 26th annual National Association of Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger food drive. Brown paper bags were left by the mailboxes of residents in Vicksburg and throughout the county and after delivering the mail, the letter carries collected the bags of food to be donated.

“There are a lot of people we don’t even know about who are here and hungry in our community,” Deborah Montgomery, a rural carrier who helps organize the event, said. “It is unreal to see the amount of food that people put out. It is overwhelming. Any time you can fill two tubs up from one truck, that is a lot of food.”

The Vicksburg Post Office has 39 different routes letter carriers deliver to and each of them return to the post office full of canned goods and other nonperishables on the day of the food drive. Some carriers even require extra trucks to be brought out to them to enable them to complete their routes after filling their trucks to the brim with food.

“I come and help every year because it is good for me to give back to the community. It is a good cause and there are a lot of people in need,” said Rep. Oscar Denton who volunteers at the drive every year. “It is awesome to see the great folks of the community really step up to the plate.”

Last year, Warren County donated more than 26,000 pounds of food during the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive and after seeing the amount of food brought in by just the first few routes, Montgomery expected 2018 to be another big year.

The food collected Saturday will be donated to organizations throughout Warren County including Store House Community Food Pantry, Haven House Family Shelter, the Salvation Army and Mountain of Faith Ministries.

Kimberly Smith, who is the director of Mountain of Faith, said the drive came just in time, because the demand has been so high recently they were running out of food.

“It will allow us to help the community in a great way. There are so many people in the community in need and this is going to allow us to be able to help them in a great way,” Smith said. “We have people coming in from Jackson, Port Gibson, of course Vicksburg and surrounding areas who are looking for help. We try to accommodate them.” Smith said she hopes the food they received Saturday will last through at least July.