The National Association of Letter Carriers Food Drive, conducted in May with the United States Postal Service, is the largest, one-day food drive, in the country.
I thank John Curtis of NALC Branch 391 in Ellsworth for contacting me and letting us know how we stacked up, so to speak, in that effort.
“Residents of central and eastern Maine generously donated 94,599 pounds of high-quality food for area food banks and pantries,” Curtis reported, adding “the results of this year’s drive pushed the national total collected, in the 18 years of the food drive, to over 1 billion pounds.”
Curtis is particularly proud of the folks in his collection area, because residents of Ellsworth, Southwest Harbor and Sullivan left 6,640 pounds of food beside their mailboxes for letter carriers to pick up on May 8.
Truth be told, that pushes Ellsworth up to No. 2 on the collection list in our area, be-hind big-city Bangor, leading the way with 17,188 pounds.
This year, Old Town/Orono came in third with 6,000 pounds followed by Brewer, in fourth, with 5,259 pounds.
Curtis enjoys compiling the numbers and is, understandably, proud of the progress being made in his area.
“Before this year, we’ve been coming in third or fourth,” he told me. “But, this year, we put a lot into advertising [the food drive].”
“Especially talking to the businesses with big billboards out front, and getting them to remind people” of the date made a difference, Curtis said.
“I’m always running into people who said they forgot the date so, I said, ‘Okay, we will remind you.’”
In addition to the notices we received in our mail, and the posters Curtis placed everywhere he could, he believes getting businesses involved is essential.
But so is the help of volunteers on the day of the drive.
Curtis told me the Ellsworth Post Office has six letter carriers and seven rural carriers. To lighten their loads, other letter carriers who had the day of the food drive off, volunteered to come in and work all day to help.
Family and friends of rural carriers also helped collect do-nations on those routes.
In Ellsworth, volunteers from the three food pantries receiving the food “do the heavy lifting and weighing that goes on for much of the day,” Curtis said of workers representing Loaves & Fishes, The Emmaus Center and the What’s For Suppa? Food Pantry.
And while Curtis is very proud of the efforts put forth by people served by his post office, he and I were equally impressed with some of the amounts donated by residents of smaller communities.
For example, folks in Carmel and Etna combined for a total of 1,065 pounds of donated food; Corinna recorded 573 pounds and Deer Isle 400.
And then there is little Ab-bot, with 1,558 pounds, and 4,000 from Belfast.
Eastport recorded 2,800 pounds of donations; Millinocket 3,485 and Patten 299 pounds of food.
Brooks residents came up with 585 pounds and folks in Frankfort left 588 pounds of food by their mailboxes.
No matter where you live, John Curtis and the NALC thank you for your participation in this food drive and hope you will be generous in the future.
The results by town are as follows:
City/Town – lbs collected
Bar Harbor: 1,505
Blue Hill: 429
Calais: 1,685 (incl. Meddybemps-Princeton-Robbinston)
Columbia Falls: 225
Deer Isle: 400
East Machias: 250
East Millinocket/Medway: 905
East Orland: 50
Ellsworth: 6,640 (incl SW Harbor, Sullivan)
Grand Lake Stream: 7
Islesford (Cranberry I): 50
Old Town/Orono annex: 6000
Orrington/Orrington rurals from Brewer: 1,650
Stockton Springs: 1,190
Grand Total: 94,599
Joni Averill, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402; email@example.com; 990-8288.