Philanthropy — The annual effort of the National Association of Letter Carriers is set for May 10

Technically, the recession is over, but that doesn’t mean the need to feed people down on their luck has decreased. In fact, emergency food agencies such as Newberg F.I.S.H. (Friends In Service to Humanity) and Dundee Promise Pantry continue to experience an upswing in those people seeking assistance.

So, any help the community can lend is appreciated. The next opportunity to help out comes May 10 when the National Association of Letter Carriers, your local postmen and postwomen, will mount its 22nd annual food drive. “Stamp Out Hunger” is billed as the largest single-day food drive in the world and, looking at the numbers, that appears likely: Over the past 21 years the effort has collected more than one billion pounds of food in the United GARY ALLE - High hopes - In 2013, local letter carriers gathered more than 10,550 pounds of food in Newberg and 2,500 pounds in Dundee. The goal for this year's ‘Stamp Out Hunger' event is a total of 15,000 pounds of food collected during the May 10 event.

And Newberg and Dundee are no different. In fact, letter carriers collected 10,550 pounds of food in Newberg and another 2,500 pounds in Dundee in 2013 alone. All the donations go directly to F.I.S.H. and Dundee Promise Pantry under the supervision of the Oregon Food Bank, according to Sue Canfield, who has been spearheading the effort since its inception locally in 1993.

Canfield retired from the postal service in 2011 and now spends her time volunteering at F.I.S.H. and organizing the annual food drive. Canfield’s goal for this year is to collect 12,000 pounds (six tons) in Newberg and 3,000 pounds in Dundee.

To that end a cadre of 22 letter carriers will collect food during their regular routes May 10, with another five retired letter carriers then transferring that food to F.I.S.H. headquarters on Elliott Road.

“The letter carriers food drive benefits the entire Oregon Food Bank network, serving people who are hungry in every county in Oregon,” Canfield said, adding that in Oregon alone more than 4,000 letter carriers will be involved in the effort.

How does it work for the everyday postal customer? It’s simple: a yellow plastic bag will be placed in mailboxes during the week of May 5. Fill the bag with non-perishable food (ideally, peanut butter; canned meats; canned soup, chili, stew, pork and beans; canned vegetables; dried macaroni and cheese; canned fruit and boxed baking mixes). Place the bag by your mailbox early May 10.

Organizers ask that people not donate rusty, unlabeled or out-of-date cans; perishable or homemade food items; non-commercial canned or packaged items; alcoholic beverages or open or partially used items.

If you miss your letter carrier, food can also be dropped off at the Newberg and Dundee post offices.

Canfield said that people generally stick to the guidelines when donating, although occasionally money will show up in the bags, which is OK.

“Some people want to donate homemade items, but they are not acceptable,” she added.

Ultimately, she said, the most interesting part of the effort is the largess of the people of Newberg and Dundee: “How generous people are to help the less fortunate in their community.”

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