Source: Sherman Publications

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Post office ready for can drive, May 12

by Trevor Keiser

May 09, 2012

Lake Orion Postal workers are ready to collect some cans on May 12 for the 20th Annual National Association of Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive.

"It's so simple," said Pamela Wilson, letter carrier and food drive coordinator in Lake Orion. "All people have to do is put something in their mailbox or next to it and we pick it up."

Lake Orion Post Master Ted Banks said all food collected in both Lake Orion and Oxford is donated to the Oxford/Orion FISH pantry.

"It doesn't go down to Gleaners is Detroit. It doesn't go to Oakland County Pantry," he said. "Not that, that would be a bad thing, but people seem to have more value when they donate their non-perishable food items that it's helping people locally."

Wilson said she sees a need locally everyday.

"You don't have to look were the poor are. All you have to do is look down your street," she said with tear filled eyes. "I see families, children, and seniors in trouble. I deliver an unemployment check to a father and the next week his wife is unemployed."

Banks said FISH depends on the post office drive from Orion and Oxford for seven to nine months of inventory.

"In harder times like the last several years that hasn't even managed to reach that seven, eight, nine month period," he said. "This is something they absolutely live and die for, what we're putting together for them locally."

Wilson agreed.

"They're at a constant battle to put food on their shelves," she said. "Whenever everybody starts hurting, that's when the donations go down and that's when they need it the most."

Banks also asked that people not leave glass items because it's harder to transport without breaking and remember to check the expiration dates. Wilson said pet food is also needed because many senior citizens and families have pets as well.

In past years, Banks said they've collected in excess of 10,000 pounds of food. Last letter carriers across the nation collected 70.2 million pounds of food and overthe history of 20 years a total of 1.1 billion pounds of food has been collected by the entire United States Postal Services.

"We have 16,000 deliveries in Orion Township and Lake Orion and another 6,000 to 7,000 in Oxford," Banks said. "That's 23,000 people that can take an opportunity to contribute something to their community."

Wilson agreed.

If every house would give as little as one to two cans to share with another person our volume would double," she said. "We also have a donation box in our lobby and a jar for monetary donations too."

Wilson also said its one FISH'S biggest volunteer times, so if people can't give money or food, but would still like to donate volunteer time they can call Oxford/Orion Fish Food Pantry at 248-693-0638.

This is a huge drive, said FISH Food Pantry Manager Sandy Klersy "Our basement and shelves are getting empty. Our last big drive was in November, so this is a big needy one."

Klersy said they need both in food and volunteers. They will be unpacking and stocking on Saturday between 1:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. at FISH located at off Thomas Road at 487 First Street in Oxford Township.

Those interested in donating, volunteering or for more information can call 248-628-3933 or 248-628-5352 or visit oxfordorionfish.org or like them on Facebook.

"People can call or just show up," said Klersy.