Feeding the soul

Smiling people hold cans of food

Growing up in Detroit, Michael Swan remembers volunteering with his grandmother at a local food bank.

“I saw how families needed help,” he said.

Last weekend, Swan, a Livonia, MI, letter carrier with two years of USPS service, kept his family’s tradition alive by participating in the Stamp Out Hunger food drive.

“Through the food drive, I can continue to help feed families,” he said.

Swan was one of thousands of Postal Service employees who collected donations May 11 during Stamp Out Hunger, the nation’s largest one-day food drive.

The National Association of Letter Carriers organizes the annual event, which has collected more than 1.6 billion pounds of food since it began in 1993.

This year’s tally won’t be announced until later in the spring, but local numbers are being reported, including 13,000 pounds of food collected in Henderson, NC, and 3,100 pounds in Oskaloosa, IA.

Many postal workers say they look forward to the event all year long.

“It’s always nice to be a part of something that is so beneficial for our community. We see the needs of our community every day,” said Lubbock, TX, Letter Carrier Brandy Lowrance.

In Siloam Spring, AR, Elaine Carr, a rural carrier and longtime Stamp Out Hunger volunteer, received a surprise from her co-workers, who made a blanket for her using T-shirts from past food drives.

“I know we would not collect the amount of food we do without her dedication and love for the community,” said Postmaster Sharon Davis.

Meanwhile, Swan, the Michigan letter carrier who used to volunteer at a food bank with his grandmother, is already making plans for next year’s Stamp Out Hunger drive.

“This means a lot to me personally. My grandmother would be proud,” he said.