Mail carriers 'Stamp out Hunger'

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Letter carriers in the Greater Cincinnati area teamed-up with the Freestore Foodbank on Saturday as part of a national food drive called Stamp out Hunger.

Carriers collected food from houses around the Tri-state. To participate, individuals left non-perishable food items by their mail boxes. The carriers took it from there.

"Your letter carrier will come by, pick it up after they drop off your mail," said Kurt Reiber, CEO of Freestore Foodbank. "It's very easy."

Food collected by the carriers were brought to the Freestore Foodbank's distribution center in Bond Hill. Volunteers then sorted and prepared the food for delivery to food pantries and soup kitchens.

The program, now in it's 21st year, is being hailed a success.

"Since 1993 we've collected one billion pounds of food that goes to help all the homeless people, all the hungry people," explains Rob, a local mail carrier.

The number of hungry is growing. It's estimated that there are more than 300,000 people in the Greater Cincinnati area who do not get enough food. Approximately 100,000 of these individuals are children.

"Letter carriers work in every community across the country and we see a need for needy family and hungry families in our neighborhoods," says Doug, a mail carrier from Queen City Branch 43. "So, in 1991, in ten cities across the country, we started a pilot program for a one day food drive. It was such a success that in 1993 it was revamped and spread out across the entire country."

One thing these families need most is protein.

"The cost of  protein has gone up a little more than some other things so - the canned tuna, the beans, the canned meat - there's always a great need for that and even more so now."

Many of the carriers feel a great deal of pride in the work that they do.

"I get the satisfaction of knowing that I'm helping people," explained Rob. "I've been fortunate to never need, you know, to have to go to a food pantry. I've always had a job and always worked and help myself and feed myself and my children."

The carriers collected enough food for more than 70,000 meals on Saturday.

Donations to the Freestore Foodbank are always accepted online. Monetary donations can be made where every dollar can provide three meals.

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