The Second Harvest Food Bank of Clark, Champaign and Madison Counties distributed a record 28,000 pounds of food to 733 families in a six-hour event last month that was nearly three times as big as the largest previous mobile pantry in the agency’s history.
That means Saturday’s National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Stamp Out Hunger food drive will arrive just in time.
Sponsored locally by NALC Springfield Branch 45, the U.S. Postal Service, the AFL-CIO and the food bank, the event allows people to donate non-perishable food to Second Harvest by leaving it for their letter carriers.
Those on walking routes can leave the items on their porches. Those on rural routes can hang the food in bags from the mail boxes or put the items inside the box. The food bank says that in addition to food, personal hygiene items also would be appreciated.
Donations also can be made by dropping off bags at the food bank, 710 E. Columbia St.; the Springfield Post Office, 150 N. Limestone St.; or in the parking lot of Northridge Bowling Lanes, 1333 Moorefield Road, from 1 to 4 p.m.
People in Enon and Yellow Springs can also drop food off at their local post offices, and all food donated will be distributed by the closest food bank.
Anyone whose food is not picked up is asked to call 937-323-6497 for Springfield routes, 937-864-2731 for Enon routes, or 937-767-7458 for Yellow Springs routes. Those unable to get through to their post offices can call 937-323-7446.
Last year, the community’s generosity netted 30,000 pounds of food in Springfield and about 2,000 pounds in Enon and Yellow Springs, an infusion Jeff Miller, operations manager for Second Harvest, said was just what the pantry ordered.
“Things like shelf-stable canned goods we have collected through the holiday food drive, processed in January, are now diminishing,’ he said. “This is the boost we’ll get in May to put a good amount of poundage back on our shelves, which will get us to June, July and August.”
The additional food is “a good complement to the produce that’s going to start rolling in as summer hits,” he said.
The personal hygiene products are helpful, he added, because they “can often be the first things to be neglected” when there’s a choice between them and food.
In addition to distributing food at the food bank and through its member agencies, Second Harvest is increasingly reaching out to hungry people by holding mobile food pantries in which their truck stops in towns and neighborhoods.
Miller called the April 14 event held at Catholic Central High School in conjunction with the “Year of Faith” celebration by 19 area Catholic Parishes “pretty monumental.”
“It was very successful,” he said. “But with success like this you’ve got to kind of look back and ask ‘What does that really say about our economy and (the needs in) our city?’ ”