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Postal food drive Saturday

Watch your mailbox for reusable bag

When checking your mailbox this week, expect to find a reusable bag. Rather than tossing the bag atop a pile of mail or keeping it, residents are asked to fill the bag with food and set it by their mailbox on Saturday, May 11.

Local U.S. Postal Service employees will collect the food for Powell Valley Loaves and Fishes. Communities around the nation will participate in the National Association of Letter Carriers’ “Stamp Out Hunger” Food Drive, the nation’s largest one-day food drive. Residents also can drop off food at the Post Office.

“This is all about the entire Postal Service coming together to help our neighbors,” said local letter carrier Calvin Johnston in a Postal Service press release. “We see struggling people all around us and we’re counting on postal customers to step up, like they have in years past, to meet the ever-growing need.”

For the first time, sturdy, reusable bags with handles will be used in Powell’s food drive, said Cindy Balderas, treasurer for Powell Valley Loaves and Fishes. In years past, plastic bags were used, and often had to be thrown away.

“They would tear easily, which was hard for the carriers ... 90 percent of the plastic bags couldn’t be reused,” Balderas said.

The new reusable bags are more environmentally-friendly, easier to carry and more durable.

“They’re better for everyone involved,” Balderas said.

Reusable bags will be delivered in Powell area mailboxes on Wednesday and Thursday. Residents are encouraged to donate nonperishable food items, such as canned goods, peanut butter, crackers or pasta.

“Please fill the bag,” Balderas said. “If you can’t put food in it, then return the bag to the mailbox.”

That way, it can be used again in future food drives.

Over the course of last year, Powell Valley Loaves and Fishes served 3,324 people, making up 970 families, Balderas said. (Families and individuals are counted each time they use the pantry.)

“Obviously, our pantry is being used,” Balderas said. “We’re ever diligent to keep food on our shelves.”

This is the 21st annual postal food drive. Last year, letter carriers and post offices around America collected more than 70 million pounds of food nationwide. Wyoming residents donated 112,000 pounds of food in 2012.

“This is all about neighbors helping neighbors. Every other day we deliver mail. But on this day, we get to deliver hope,” Johnston said.

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