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Help 'stamp out hunger'

Lake Orion postal workers are asking residents to leave nonperishable, unexpired foods in their mailboxes this Saturday for the national Stamp Out Hunger campaign. Any locally-donated food goes to Orion/Oxford FISH. Photo by Megan Collier (click for larger version)
May 05, 2010 - Together, we can "stamp out hunger."

That's what letter carriers all over the country are telling their customers about their food drive campaign this Saturday, May 8.

It's the biggest one-day drive in the nation, and to help out, residents simply need to leave nonperishable, unexpired canned and boxed food items in their mailboxes for Saturday's pickup. 

Don't want to leave it in your mail? You can also drop items off at the Lake Orion post office.

"It's called the Letter Carriers' drive but it's a whole group of people – all the staff – who make it happen," said Pamela Wilson, food drive coordinator in Lake Orion. She notes that all food collected through the drive will go to Oxford/Orion FISH. The organization helps those in need in the Lake Orion and Oxford areas. 

Wilson says she takes stake in this quote: "Generosity lies less in giving much, than giving at the right moment."

"Now is the moment," she said. "We're not looking for a grand gesture – just give a couple of cans."

Wilson stresses the importance of donating food that isn't expired. Anything that's past its expiration date must be thrown away.

And throwing away food, said Wilson is "the most heartbreaking thing I can think of," adding, "You don't have to look very far to find a person in need," she said. "You basically just need to look down your street."

This year marks Postmaster Ted Banks' seventh food drive.

"Every year we've exceeded the year before, so the community is doing great. We have a pretty good volunteer base," he said, adding, "It's not just the letter carriers themselves, who pick up the food."

Wilson said it's all the postal service staff, FISH volunteers and other service organizations that make it possible.

Last year's efforts netted just under 11,000 pounds of food, and stocked FISH's basement from May until September.

"[Stamp Out Hunger] is one of our biggest drives of the year," said Sandy Klersy, one of FISH's pantry coordinators.

She says the organization is seeing "a lot more clients because of the economic times," but that they're also getting more donors.

"We've been holding our own very well. Everything we get is donated, and we've been able to keep stocked up," she said.

Each year, FISH helps between 400 and 460 families. Last month alone, Klersy says they aided 175 households.

Reporter, Lake Orion Review
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