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Annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive set

Did you get your bag?

Saturday, May 11 is National Association of Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, and the Letter Carriers Vicksburg Branch 94 have put brown bags in mailboxes in hopes everyone will donate.

“Each year on the second Saturday in May, letter carriers across the country collect non-perishable food donations from our customers,” local letter carrier food drive coordinator Tommy Atlas said.

“These donations will go directly to the local food pantries that provide food to people in Vicksburg who need support,” he said.

Last year, Atlas said, the food drive results were outstanding. More than 220 union branches collected more than 11 million pounds of food, which was a one-day record in the U.S.

“From Alaska to Florida and Maine to Hawaii, letter carriers did double duty by delivering the mail and picking up donations,” he said.

This year will mark the 27th anniversary of the program and in addition to the Vicksburg Letter Carriers collecting non-perishable food items, the local United Way and Eddie and Amy Melton will be helping collect food items in Vicksburg and the surrounding Warren County Area.

“The letter carriers of Vicksburg will be doing the food drive in honor of Kimmy Melton,” Atlas said.

Kimmy, who was the Meltons’ daughter, died in 2012. In 2013, one of Kimmy’s class mates, Caydee Schweitzer, offered up the idea of collecting food items for the pantry as a way to honor her friend.

“Kimmy held charity birthday parties,” Amy Melton said.

“She asked for food items to donate to the local pantry instead of presents because their friendship was gift enough for her,” she said.

And in 2015, Melton and her husband began collaborating with the letter carriers and the local United Way.

Having a food drive in May is crucial, Atlas said.

“Food banks and pantries often receive the majority of their donations during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons.

By springtime, many pantries are depleted, entering the summer low on supplies at a time when many school breakfast and lunch programs are not available to children in need,” he said, adding, “The need for food donations is great.”

Currently, one in six Americans are food insecure including 13 million children and more than five million seniors over the age of 60, Atlas said.

To participate in the food drive, one can either fill the bag and place it inside or beside the mailbox or just leave non-perishable food donations inside the mailbox.

Food donations include peanut butter, tuna, rice, pasta, mac and cheese, canned fruit, vegetables and soup, cookies, cake mix and boxed juices.

Glass product are not acceptable, Atlas said, along with dirty or rusty cans, frozen food, chips, candy, expired items, damaged items, home canned goods without labels and alcoholic beverages.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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