By Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer
Portales letter carriers will have a heavier load to pick up on their mail routes this Saturday as part of the 13th Annual National Food Drive.
The National Association of Letter Carriers is working in conjunction with the United States Postal Service to collect canned food items such as fish, meat, soup, juice and vegetables. They will also be collecting cereal, rice and any other non-perishable food items.
Lea Anne Johnson, Portales Post Office Supervisor, said previously the food items collected from the food drive have been sent to the Community Services Center. Johnson said this year the food items will be split up between the CSC and the Portales Dream Center.
“Mostly we get cans of food,” Johnson said about the collection efforts. “We get instant mashed potatoes, beans and rice.”
Warren Wortham, a Portales letter carrier, said letter carriers and post office workers coordinate together the event and work together in the gathering of the food items. Letter carriers are requesting the food items be placed underneath the resident’s mail boxes.
“We appreciate their generosity,” Wortham said. “It’s for a worthy cause. Portales people are generous.”
Another person who is thankful for Portales residents’ generosity is Judi Hargrove of the Portales Dream Center. Hargrove said the center gives out food, clothing and furniture among other things to the needy people of Portales.
“It’s going to be great,” Hargrove said about the donations. “We’re very appreciative of the Post Fffice for sharing what they have with the Dream Center.”
Center volunteers also help out with family counseling. Hargrove said the dream center is a distribution site for commodities. Hargrove said the dream center has been open for almost one year and a half and during that time 1,500 families have been registered in the computer as having requested help from the dream center.
“There is a great need in this area,” Hargrove said. “You’d be surprised at how many people come in to the Dream Center. There are times when we run out.”
Johnson said there is also a need at the Community Services Center.
“From what I understand, the Community Services Center was wondering if we could do a second one last year because they were in need of food,” Johnson said. “This is a major food drive for them.”
The drive is the largest one-day food drive in the nation, as 70.9 million pounds of food were donated in the 2004 national food drive, according to the National Association of Letter Carriers Web site.
Of that total, Portales Post Office workers were able to collect 2,750 pounds of food.