Letter carriers in Bloomington-Normal collected more than 52,000 pounds of non-perishable food at the annual Stamp Out Hunger drive on Saturday. (Photo by foodbankCENC/flickr)
By Eric Stock
BLOOMINGTON - Local letter carriers had to do some heavy lifting to do on Saturday as Bloomington-Normal residents nearly doubled their food donations to the annual Stamp Out Hunger drive.
The Bloomington-based National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 522 which cover all 617 zipcodes, collected an estimated 60,000 pounds of non-perishable food, including more than 52,000 pounds in Bloomington Normal.
Coordinator Kim Herberger credits the success to grocery bags which letter carriers delivered to homes in Bloomington-Normal instead of the usual postcards in advance of the drive.
"That postcard might have gotten throw in at the bottom of a stack of mail and this grocery bag was something large. It's something they couldn't miss. They went to the grocery store specifically, it seems, just to put some things in that bag," Herberger said.
Herberger said the bags were donated by local unions and the United Way of McLean County.
Herberger said she learned at a national convention last year that areas that used the grocery bags saw two to three times as much food.
The food, which was enough to fill nearly two semi truck loads, is being sent to Midwest Food Bank in Bloomington. Midwest will then distribute the food to19 local food pantries.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates 50 million Americans are food insecure, including 17 million children and three millions seniors over age 65.
Stamp Out Hunger is the largest one-day volunteer event in the nation.
Eric Stock can be reached at email@example.com.