By Chase Rheam
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Payne County residents can help their own by participating in the Letter Carriers Food Drive May 11.
“The letter carriers started this years ago to have an impact on fighting local hunger and even though it’s a national event, each community gathers the food and determines the local food banks to go to,” said Stillwater Area United Way Executive Director Sheri Carter.
She said Stillwater steps up for the Harvest 2 event, but the number of items given through those means is dwindling.
“We’re looking at kids that will be home for the summer and may not be getting that meal at school for breakfast and lunch,” she said. “It just comes at a very needed time of the year.”
Participants can purchase non-perishable food items to place in a plastic sack that will be left for their mail carriers to pick up May 11.
“People always ask what kinds of things are most needed,” Carter said. “Things that have protein are great such as canned soup, rice; peanut butter is great, especially for the summer.”
Last year’s food drive in the Stillwater and Payne County area collected 21,010 pounds of food making it the largest collection in the 19 years the event has been running.
Stillwater’s Salvation Army is among the places the food will be taken for distribution. Capt. Michael Knott said the event is beneficial to not only residents, but the Salvation Army, too.
“Right now, monthly, we spend the money and purchase through the regional food bank,” he said. “This kind of saves the funds so we can channel it through other means including utilities, rent and hot spots like that when the weather changes on us.”
From what he has gathered, the amount of items the Salvation Army receives fills up half of their sanctuary hall. How long the items last depends on the varying need of the community.
“It’s really needed and it’s the right time of the year and if everyone can part with a couple of things, we can make sure all of our families stay fed this summer,” Carter said.
For more information, contact the Stillwater United Way at 377-2161.