Postal carriers, Atmore help Stamp Out Hunger

Published 1:01 am Wednesday, May 16, 2007

By By Adam Prestridge
Local letter carriers delivered more than the mail Saturday.
During their delivery routes, the carriers also collected non-perishable food items left by residents in the Atmore area to donate to Atmore Area Christian Care Ministry.
"The drive went very well," Atmore postmaster Lester Cogollo said. "We had more than 6,000 pounds of food come in." According to shop steward Pat Reynolds, the food drive called Stamp Out Hunger, sponsored by the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), has been collecting food and donating to the organization for six years.
"We've had several years when we've raised more than 6,000 pounds of food," Reynolds said. "Last year we were under, we raised a little under 4,500 pounds. Two years ago we raised right at 5,500 pounds and we hit 6,000 the year before that. Our highest was 10,112 pounds in 2000."
Reynolds said a total of 6,273 pounds was donated Saturday, which tip the scales for more than 1,500 pounds over what was collected last year.
Letter carriers delivered plastic bags and a pamphlet last week explaining the purpose of the food drive. The pamphlet requested that residents fill the bag up with canned and non-perishable food items and leave it by their mailboxes this past Saturday.
"We're still going to have food collected today because a lot of people came over to my home over the weekend and told me that they had forgot, but they would try to put it out today," Reynolds said Monday morning. "We may collect another 1,000 pounds by Thursday."
Cogollo agreed stating that the community would continue to give throughout the week.
"They'll be collecting food for the next three or four days," Cogollo said.
Although this year was a success, Reynolds said the support hasn't always been there.
"When we first started out people were not participating, but after they started seeing that the food was going back into the community, then more and more they started participating," she said. "This year, I had asked each business to participate and give us 50 pounds and we had several businesses to come in this year and give us donations."
Tri-Co Electric brought in 121 pounds Saturday and Rachel Patterson Elementary School donated 50 pounds. New Pleasant Hill Church donated nearly 200 pounds of food.
Cogollo said he was proud of the letter carriers and the leadership Reynolds displays year-in and year-out.
"We all work together as a team," he said. "Pat knows what kind of support she needs and we give it to her."
Reynolds said before Atmore Area Christian Care Ministry was established, the food was divided among the churches in and around Atmore.
A total of 18 carriers assisted in the food drive, including several retired carriers that came in and assisted weighing the food and delivering it to Atmore Area Christian Care Ministry.
Reynolds said the drive can only succeed with the community's support.
"Every year, I have to thank the community because if it wasn't for them putting the food out there, this wouldn't happen," Reynolds said. "We just ask for one can, but there are so many that give more."

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