Tonawanda News — It began more than two decades ago and has become a vital contributor to food pantries and individuals struggling to get by.
The Stamp out Hunger food drive, taking place for the 21st year on Saturday around the country and throughout the Tonawandas, utilizes the nation’s 175,000 letter carriers in more than 10,000 communities, who will not only drop off your mail that day but carry out non-perishable food items for the needy, by bolstering food bank and relief organization supplies with non-perishable items.
Karen Tuczynski, a letter carrier with the North Tonawanda Post Office said her outfit flooded homes and businesses with nearly 20,000 bags earlier this week, which organizers believe will not only serve as a reminder but may act as an incentive for residents who can spare non-perishable items such as canned food and toiletries. The bags, new this year, bear the date the items will be picked up and the name of the event.
“It’s quite an undertaking,” Tuczynski said. “I’d say about 25 percent of those on my route give something. They do give a lot, which makes up for people who don’t give anything. But even a can or two can help.”
Post cards were sent out as a reminder in past years, she added, and in some cases were still distributed this time, with “Fill A Bag. Feed Families” written on the front.
The North Tonawanda Post Office will have 30 employees and a least a dozen friends and family members picking up the goods and delivering them throughout the day to the North Tonawanda Inter-Church Food Pantry, located on Ridge Road.
The effort last year sent 53,000 pounds to the organization, which was used to sustain 250 families through the summer months, according to coordinator Bonnie Shaffer, who said her organization has seen its clientele, many of whom are seniors, grow in recent years.