FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - 'Stamp Out Hunger,' a national food drive held every spring, faces a severe postponement due to COVID-19.
The National Association of Letter Carriers scheduled the food drive for May 9, with postal workers over 10,000 cities nationwide prepared to pick up donations of non-perishable food items from their respective routes.
The coronavirus pandemic provoked the NALC to postpone the food drive to the fall, but with continued uncertainty related to rising COVID-19 cases in several states, the NALC opted for a virtual food drive to sustain hungry families over the holidays.
“As letter carriers in every neighborhood in the country six and seven days a week, we see the need and we cannot wait while food banks struggle, demand grows and people remain hungry,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said. “Once it is safe, we will return to the traditional food drive.”
Fort Wayne's Associated Churches has partnered with the local NALC Summit City Branch 116 to help distribute food donations to Allen County residents over the last two decades.
Tim Scroggs, the NALC Summit City Branch 116 president recalls how much food was accumalated during last year's drive.
"Just here in Fort Wayne we collected over 400, 000 pounds of food in one day," said Scroggs.
But he says accomplishing that same collection with safety isn't possible this year without requiring contact between volunteers.
In May, the Northeast Indiana AFL-CIO chapter of the Hoosier Heartland Area Labor Federation held a virtual ‘solidarity’ food drive to help Associated Churches compensate for the postponement of Stamp out Hunger.
The virtual food drive provided donations lasting up to 9 months, supplying food for the current holiday season.
Associated Churches’ Executive Director Roger Reece says this is one of the ways the community has ‘filled in the gaps.’
Reece says, “It reminds me of the calling that you have to give back.”
The NALC continues to provide online options for people to get in contact with their local food banks for immediate food assistance in their area.
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