2015-05-07 / News

Post office food drive aids local food pantry

BY LANIA ROCHA
810-452-2652 • lrocha@mihomepaper.com

SWARTZ CREEK – Postmaster Marilyn Onufry was surprised to learn that 55 percent of K-12 students in Genesee County qualify for free or reduced lunches.

In the Swartz Creek Community Schools this year, more than 1,700 students – about 40 percent of the student population – qualify for free or reduced lunch and/or breakfast, according to data supplied by the United Way.

On Saturday, May 9, the National Association of Letter Carriers, United States Postal Service, Feeding America and other partners will ask the people of Swartz Creek to help Stamp Out Hunger.

Letter carriers will collect nonperishable food and personal care items donated by the residents along their routes.

Residents need only leave the items near their mail boxes and postal service workers will collect them as they deliver the mail.

All items collected in the 48473 Zip Code will go to the Swartz Creek Community Food Pantry, said Onufry.

“We’re going to keep this food local,” said Onufry. “It will stay here and people know that their donations will help out their neighbors.

“Last year they were just thrilled to get the food. They couldn’t stop raving about how much they received from this community and what a big help it was.”

Last year, local contributions filled a tractor-trailer.

The United Methodist Church of Swartz Creek, St. Mary Queen of Angels and Messiah Lutheran churches operate the food pantry at the Methodist Church, 7400 Miller Road.

It is open from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fridays. Starting May 25, however, the hours will be 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fridays.

To be eligible, recipients must meet income guidelines and live within the Swartz Creek Community Schools district or be members of any of the three participating churches.

Last year, the pantry was serving about 200 households per month. That number has been steadily rising over the past 12 months, said Sue Drummond, food pantry volunteer coordinator.

The pantry is in need of all types of nonperishable food, but has a particularly great need for cereal, canned fruit, nutritious lunch and snack foods for children who are home for the summer, diapers and dishwashing detergent.

The annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive, the largest one-day food drive in the country, is now in its 23rd year. It has spread to more than 10,000 cities across the United States.

Last year, letter carriers collected 72.5 million pounds of food, feeding 30 million people, Post Office officials estimate.

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