Letter carriers collect food to benefit local pantries

Each May, tens of thousands of letter carriers nationwide do their part to help stock shelves.

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Each summer, there are bare shelves at food pantries. That’s why every May, tens of thousands of letter carriers nationwide, and here in Western Massachusetts, do their part to help stock those shelves.

“On top of picking the mail up, delivering the mail, all carriers pick up food and put them in their truck….It’s a lot of extra work but it’s a worthwhile event and we are happy to do it,” said Grant Young, a postal worker and organizer of the event in West Springfield. But they can’t do it alone: they need help from the generous community. Letter carriers dropped off these posters, notifying residents of their annual food drive.

William Weckerly and his wife look forward to it each year. “My wife always gets a package, you know, a good sized package and always puts it on our stoop and then the mailman comes by and picks it up, so you know we try to share the little bit we have, so hopefully, you know, it makes someone feel good or it helps them out,” Weckerly, a West Springfield resident, told 22News.

Picking up the food is just the first half of the day. The second begins when all of the mail trucks arrive and deliver the canned goods to the food pantry. That’s when volunteers will sort out the food for the people in need.

“We get it into our cellar, and into our pantry, and it really gives us enough canned food to get through the summer. It’s a big drive for us,” said Martha Tighe, Executive Director of Parish Cupboard in West Springfield. The Parish Cupboard serves about 200 families a month, and as many as 45 people each weekday for lunch.

In 2014, letter carriers collected 155,000 pounds of food for local pantries in Western Massachusetts and more than 74 million pounds nationwide. They hoped to surpass those numbers this year.

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