Tag Archives: National Association of Letter Carriers

Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive – A quarter century of sharing

No man can rationally live, worship, or love his neighbor on an empty stomach. ― Woodrow Wilson

 When the National Association of Letter Carriers launched their first national food drive in 1993, most Americans felt confident that hunger was a temporary challenge,   A quarter century later Americans – children, elderly, mothers and their infants, jobless workers – go to bed hungry night after night.   Children cannot learn, sick people cannot heal, workers cannot be productive – because they are malnourished.

And the future is grim at best.

The good news is that the nation’s letter carriers remain committed to continue – even expand – their national food drive.  The 25th annual Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is set for Saturday, May 13, 2017. (https://www.nalc.org/community-service/food-drive)

Last year the food drive collected a record 80 million pounds of nonperishable food.  This brought the total donations to date to more than 1.5 billion pounds.

The efforts of the letter carriers are shored up by hundreds of individuals and organizations that join in the drive.  This year’s partners include the U.S Postal Service, the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, Valpak, United Way Worldwide, the AFL-CIO, the AARP Foundation and Valassis.  Also joining letter carriers are their family members, friends, neighbors and other postal workers.

Details about this year’s drive have been – or soon will be – in every resident’s mailbox.  Sponsors are quick to remind donors that all contributions are tax deductible.  The Stamp Out Hunger Toolkit offers a wealth of ideas for promotion, collaboration, the logistics of the day  https://www.nalc.org/community-service/food-drive/food-drive-toolkit

Stay in touch with the Stamp Out Hunger Drive on Facebook (Facebook.com/StampOutHunger);  on Twitter follow @StampOut Hunger.  Be sure to check out the great StampOutHunger graphics here:  (https://www.nalc.org/community-service/food-drive/body/food-drive-17-RGB-flat-final.jpg)

Most important, plan ahead, think about the Stamp Out Hunger drive when you make your grocery shopping list.  Add some nutritious, delicious, non-perishable groceries that will help a local food shelf meet the needs of neighbors who need the helping hand that you are able to extend – with a little help from your generous letter carrier!

The rich swell up with pride, the poor from hunger.  Sholom Aleichem 

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Post Office Closings Call for National Day of Action

For eons we have heard murmurs, then shouts, of post offices closings. No problem, we thought, as we skimmed lists of closings in towns we couldn’t find on a map. Not our problem – we’ve got e-mail; we can buy stamps at any big box or grocery store; we’ve more delivery drop offs than mailboxes; we pay the bills online. Folks just need to get with the times.

It wasn’t till I learned that four postal unions (the National Association of Letter Carriers, the American Postal Workers Union, the National Postal Mail Handlers Union and the Rural Letter Carriers’ Association) are joining forces for a Day of Action on Friday, November 14, that I paused to consider the enormity of the cuts, the hardships on real people and real communities.

A story from my youth came to mind – the story of my beloved and appropriately named Aunt Nell Mahling, the ebullient postmistress and information hub of Randall Minnesota.

I thought, too, of something Winona LaDuke once said:

 Post office closures in the Dakotas and Minnesota will impact many communities, but the White Earth reservation villages, and other tribal towns of Squaw Lake, Ponemah, Brookston in Minnesota, and Manderson, Wounded Knee and Wakpala (South Dakota) as well as Mandaree in North Dakota will mean hardships for a largely Native community.

 Then I remembered a piece I had read not long ago in the Rural Blog about the flawed data-driven decisions to close rural post offices; the fact is that USPS rests its service studies on electronic scanning equipment on its automated mail sorters. Because rural newspapers mail to their readers, and because many newspapers are not sorted on these machines, those transactions simply don’t count when decisions are made about post office closings.

As with almost any issue, the more I thought the more complicated the questions grew – and the more resources I found. A quick search soon led me to Save the Post Office, an extraordinary site edited as a labor of love by an independent blogger, Steve Hutkins, who is by day a literature professor at Gallatin School of NYU. (http://www.savethepostoffice.com)

In no time I was immersed in the stories of historic post offices; I found amazing slides showing beautiful public art and grand buildings being retrofitted as posh shopping malls and eateries. (http://www.savethepostoffice.com/resources-on-historic-post-offices)

I learned about the push for and purpose of VPO’s (Village Post Offices) and the multiple roles of the small town post office where the spirit of Aunt Nell lives on!

And I discovered ideas for income-producing projects that post offices could, but have not, even tried. I pondered a thoughtful essay by Ralph Nader that expands both the context of the issue and the creative options waiting to be tested.

Granted I have not been paying sustained attention to the issues – I doubt I am the sole denier. It is both timely and necessary for those who are closer to the hub of the problem, including the union members, to speak out on November 14.

My hope is that the press, especially the urban media, take heed and that we the people listen and learn. We all have skin in this game… It’s not just remote rural towns that are at risk – this is an issue that affects the economy, the flow of ideas and information, our collective concern for the public good.