Community

Letter Carriers Food Drive returns to Marysville, Arlington May 12

SMOKEY POINT — The National Association of Letter Carriers Food Drive is right around the corner, and organizers want people to keep three things in mind:

1. Yellow plastic bags will be placed in mailboxes on Wednesday, May 9.

2. Those bags will be picked up by letter carriers on Saturday, May 12.

3. Volunteers are still needed to help sort all of the donations that will come in.

"This is the 20th year of the Letter Carriers Food Drive," said Bob James, president of the Washington State Association of Letter Carriers. "We look forward to this day every year. It's a concrete way of giving back to our community."

Canned goods, dry foods such as pasta and cereal, and other non-perishable items are ideal. The Letter Carriers Food Drive represents 50 percent of all of the food collected in the region for local food banks.

"If we don't have food then we can't hand it out to the people who are hungry," said Shirley McLain of the Arlington Community Food Bank. "Without this food drive, we would be low on food and unable to meet the needs of our community."

"This food drive is critical for meeting the needs of the community," said Dell Deierling, director of the Marysville Community Food Bank, who described the Letters Carriers Food Drive as "the most important event of the year" for his food bank. "The number of families coming to our food bank is up 8 percent this year. The hope is to rally the residents of Marysville to reach the donation level achieved in 2009, which was 40,000 pounds. I truly believe that, if the folks of Marysville know that we have a need, they will come through. It's an incredibly supportive city."

"In addition to donations of food, we also need volunteers to sign up in advance to help out at our four distribution centers on May 12," said Bob Reese, regional executive vice president of the Volunteers of America of Western Washington.

After the yellow plastic bags are picked up by the letter carriers, they'll be delivered to four distribution centers; two in Everett, one in Edmonds and one in Lynnwood.

"It's really a team effort," Reese said. "Once the bags are picked up, we need volunteers to help sort, load and distribute the food. We'll also have trucks from take it to individual food banks."

Volunteers can sign up through the Volunteers of America of Western Washington website at www.voaww.org/lettercarriers.

"This is a great example of the community coming together," said Dennis G. Smith, president and CEO of United Way of Snohomish County. "It may not seem like a lot, but a few cans of food here and a few cans there really make a difference."

Although the food drive is a national event, in Snohomish County it is organized by National Association of Letter Carriers Local 791, the Volunteers of America of Western Washington, United Way of Snohomish County and the Snohomish County Labor Council.

Marysville residents who miss getting their yellow bags out may take their donations directly to the Marysville Community Food Bank, located at 4150 88th St. NE, directly behind St. Mary's Catholic Church. It's open Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 8-11:30 a.m., as well as Tuesdays from 2-6:30 p.m. To make a financial donation, you may send a check to P.O. Box 917, Marysville, WA 98270.

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