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Food donations down

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Auburn organizations dedicated to feeding the hungry received a recent boost in donations thanks to the National Association of Letter Carriers food drive last week. The Salvation Army of Auburn, the Auburn Interfaith Food Closet and Seventh-Day Adventist Community Services, received a total of 8,135 pounds of food from the drive in which postal custom-ers were asked to place non-perishable food items outside their mailboxes May 10. Nationwide, the drive has generated more than 836 million pounds of food since its inception in 1993. The Auburn Interfaith Food Closet received 3,361 pounds, the Auburn Salvation Army received 3,431 pounds and Seventh-day Adventist Community Services received 1,343 pounds. In Placer County locations beyond Auburn, from Alta to Roseville, postal workers collected non-perishable food items for the food closets and food banks nearest to each post office. Organizers said donations were down by nearly 27 percent compared with pounds received last year. Unfortunately the economy is also causing more and more people to rely on emergency food as-sistance, said Sandy Bassett, president of the Auburn Interfaith Food Closet. ?That is generally the way it goes,? Bassett said. ?When the economy gets bad, giving goes down. But those who are lowest on the totem pole seem to be the hardest hit.? Bassett said food closet organizers are remaining optimistic. ?Instead of focusing on the fact that we received less than last year, we are focusing on giving a big thank you to the community for helping where they can.? Last year, Interfaith Food Closet served more than 16,000 people. The Salvation Army served more than 15,000 people and provided roughly 57,693 meals. Both food closets serve about 1,200 to 1,500 people per month. The number of people served is already up this year, Bassett said. ?In April our numbers have gone up to well over 700 people (served),? she said. ?We are seeing a big increase in need.? In late spring, many food banks begin running out of the donations received during the holidays. ?Every little bit helps,? said Craig George, spokesman for the food closet. ?No donation is too small and everything really adds up.? The Journal?s Jenna Nielsen can be reached at jennan@goldcountrymedia.com or comment on this story at auburnjournal.com.