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Food drive to help ‘stamp out hunger’

Auburn post office hoping to collect 10,000 pounds of food
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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Local letter carriers and aid groups are asking the community to help feed the hungry by donating food Saturday. Last year post offices in Auburn, Newcastle and Foresthill collected a total of 8,527 pounds of canned and nonperishable foods during the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive. A total of 43,787 pounds were collected in Placer County between Roseville and Alta, according to Sandy Bassett, president of the Auburn Interfaith Food Closet. The campaign is an effort by the Campbell Soup Company, United States Postal Service and the National Association of Letter Carriers. This year letter carriers in Auburn are hoping to collect even more than last year’s 6,675 pounds, said Isaac Reed, coordinator for the drive at the Auburn Post Office and vice president of the letter carriers union. “We want to clear 10,000 (pounds) this year because of the economy.” Reed said. “We need more this year basically. It’s important because there are lots of hungry families out there. The National Association of Letter Carriers stays in it because they are really big on helping lots of different organizations like that.” Bassett said every food item helps those in need. “It’s providing direct food,” she said. “Food that we would probably have to buy. It’s all nonperishable food. We particularly want food that has not been opened and hopefully not expired, and cans instead of bottles, because bottles break. The more often (the community) donates things that we actually give out, the better it is for us.” The Auburn Post Office collects food for Auburn Interfaith and the Auburn Salvation Army. The Newcastle Post Office collects for Auburn Adventist Community Services. Some of the needed items are canned meat, fruit and vegetables, as well as cereal, peanut butter, soup, pasta, diced tomatoes and meals in a can, like chili, Bassett said. Bassett said regular soup is desired over items like Top Ramen or broth, because those are not as nutritious. Bassett said the drive is definitely necessary this year, because the number of families needing the food is growing. “Of course we have seen for some time families that have just lost their jobs, or the single mothers with children, we have been seeing for some time that they have been coming to the food closets,” she said. “But this is the first time I have heard of families going to stand in line for a prepared meal. So that tells me things are getting a little worse.” Major Ralph Jiminez, with the Auburn Salvation Army, said the drive helps the organization provide food throughout the year. “It’s very important to us because it helps us in the sense that it helps our budget,” Jiminez said. “We put a lot of money a month into food to help the community. And when we are able to receive canned food items it really helps our budget, and it helps extend us through the year in terms of being able to give food. We don’t want to have to say, ‘No, I’m sorry, we are out of food.’” Reed said there is also a drop-off bin at the post office for donations. Reed said he always enjoys being a part of the food drive. “I personally like driving around and collecting the food,” he said. “In fact I’m coming in on my day off this year to do it. It’s good to see that people still want to help out, that people still care.” Reach Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com ------------------------------------------------------- Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive When: Saturday What to do: Place bags with nonperishable food items next to your mailbox for pick-up. Do not donate items that have expired or are in glass containers. Donations are also accepted at your local post office. Information: Visit helpstampouthunger.com