CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — The second Saturday in May marks the largest one-day food drive in the nation.
It’s the National Association of Letter Carriers “Stamp out Hunger” food drive. Postal customers in 10,000 cities across the U.S. take part.
Mail carriers had an extra heavy load, picking up bags of food along road.
They, however, didn’t bear it alone.
“You work muscles you never knew you had before,” said Volunteer Nicole Lapitska.
A team of volunteers had an assembly line going at HACAP as the food came in. Volunteers picked up and ripped open bag after bag.
“Fruits, soups, vegetables, some miscellaneous stuff, however it comes to us we just go through it and try to sort it out,” said Volunteer Jay Larson.
“That’s the one thing nice about the support for this food drive is that people don’t just put one or two things in there, I mean, they are full bags,” said HACAP Food Reservoir Director Amanda Pieper.
Even family members played a role.
“My husband is a mail carrier and we just like to help out because everyone is usually really generous,” said Volunteer Cariann Bruns.
Participants labeled each box and filled it for distribution. HACAP gives out the donated items to area food banks.
“Stamp out Hunger could not come at a better time. Just as the summer starts to approach us, is always our high demand needs when kids are out of school, seasonal employment is always very questionable,” Pieper said.
As they worked through the donations, the volunteers said the bulky bags and boxes don’t bother them at all, especially knowing they’re helping people in the community who need it most.
HACAP said each year the event brings in tens of thousands of pounds of food in the Cedar Rapids area. Organizers don’t expect to know totals for today’s collection for a couple of days.
Across the nation last year, letter carriers collected 74.4 million pounds of food.
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