Got can of beans? Put it in mailbox

NASHUA – On Saturday, letter carriers in Nashua and Hudson – and in more than 10,000 cities and towns across the country – will be doing much more than delivering mail along their postal routes. They will also be collecting the compassion of their postal customers who participate in the National Association of Letter Carriers’ 17th annual “Stamp Out Hunger” National Food Drive.

Letter carriers will collect non-perishable food left by mailboxes and in post offices Saturday and distribute the donations to area food pantries Sunday. The “Stamp Out Hunger” National Food Drive, made possible by the efforts of members of the NALC, is the world’s largest one-day food drive. It has yielded more than a half billion pounds of food donations over the past 16 years.

“I’m sure everyone knows at least one person or family that has been affected by the economy, be it from a reduction in the amount of hours available at work or being laid off,” said Bud Gorman, coordinator of the food drive in Nashua. “In these kinds of situations families need our help.”

The food drive is held in late spring as food pantries run out of donations received during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday periods. In 2008, the drive provided 73.1 million pounds of food nationally.

The 24,500 pounds of food collected by Nashua letter carriers went to seven food pantries in the Nashua area: Nashua Christian Bible Church, Upper Room Ministries, Corpus Christi Food Bank, Salvation Army, Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter, Main Street Methodist Church and Tolles Street Mission.

“This year the number of families in need is already greater than last year, so please donate to the food drive,” Gorman said.

To donate, all Nashua and Hudson residents need to do is place a box or can of non-perishable food next to their mailbox before the letter carrier delivers mail Saturday. The carrier delivers the food to the post office, where it is sorted and then available for pickup by local food pantries the next day.

The “Stamp Out Hunger” National Food Drive is conducted in conjunction with United Way, the United States Postal Service, the AFL-CIO and Feeding America, and with support from Val-Pak and Campbell Soup Co.

For more information on the United Way of Greater Nashua, visit www.unitedwaynashua. org.