Postal workers collect 8 tons of food donations


Postal workers who volunteered to deliver customers' donations to Carroll County Food Sunday pulled in eight tons of food during the last week of February and first week of March.

That was double the 8,000 pounds that they collected in last year's food drive, said Paul G. Martin, executive officer of Carroll County Food Sunday.

TTC Mr. Martin said volunteers are still sorting through the boxes and cans of food, but some of it has been distributed to needy people.

Food Sunday's all-volunteer staff was still picking up donations from post offices as late as last week.

Carroll postal workers were among 10,000 in the U.S. Postal Service's Baltimore District who participated in the statewide Harvest for the Hungry food drive. The Baltimore District includes Carroll County and all but the southern part of the state.

Carriers left notices to customers on their regular mail routes saying they they would pick up food left in or near mailboxes during the last week in February. The drive was extended through the next week.

Throughout the state, the collected food went to local food banks. In Carroll, that means Food Sunday, the 11-year-old organization that runs food banks in Westminster, Taneytown and Sykesville.

"We're glad to get it," Mr. Martin said. "The more food that's donated, the less we have to buy."

Postal workers have had an internal food drive for four years. Last year they decided to open it up to the public, Patricia Liberto said. She is a postal service equal employment opportunity investigator and a Harvest for the Hungry Committee member.

Mr. Martin estimated that the eight tons of food was the equivalent of 600 emergency baskets -- a package of basic items such as meat, soup, cereal, pasta and other foods to last a family three or four days. The food banks have been getting an average of 375 requests a week for food baskets and so far have not had to turn anyone away, he said.

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