Story last updated at 5/6/2009 - 10:46 am
JUNEAU - Every year on the second Saturday in May, letter carriers around the country pick up more than just mail.
"Stamp Out Hunger," the world's largest single-day food drive, has been happening nationwide for 17 years, said Juneau mailman Mark Piotrowski, who is coordinating the drive in Juneau.
This year's drive will be Saturday, May 9. Piotrowski encourages area residents to empty out their cupboards to make room for food for a Mother's Day dinner.
Almost 6,000 cans of food were collected in Juneau last year, and Piotrowski said this year's goal is to collect at least 6,100.
"Especially with these hard times of need... this supplements a lot of the food banks in between the holidays for the summer months," Piotrowski said.
All non-perishable items in cans and boxes are welcomed, but glass items should not be donated because they can break in transit. As in past years, donations will be split between the Southeast Alaska Food Bank and Helping Hands of Juneau.
If the canned goods don't fit in your mailbox, they can be set beside the mailbox. All donations must be there before mail delivery on Saturday to be picked up.
Donations may also be dropped off by Saturday to any area post office, and there will also be bins for donations all week long at A&P, Fred Meyer's, Safeway, Super Bear and Walmart.
When Piotrowski moved to Juneau from South Carolina in 2005, he found out that the food drive hadn't happened in Juneau for a few years. He had participated in the local drives in South Carolina, so he volunteered to act as the Juneau coordinator and get the event going again.
All of the local carriers volunteer to carry extra weight the day of the drive, he said.
"It's a lot of volunteer work for all the carriers," Piotrowski said. "It's a little extra that they have to carry. They don't have to do it, but they all volunteer their time - and their backs."
"Stamp Out Hunger" is sponsored by the National Association of Letter Carriers, the United States Postal Service and Campbell Soup Company.