*Editor's note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified the grocery chain that is providing bags as part of Saturday's food drive. Shop 'n Save is providing the bags. This article has been updated to reflect the correct information.
Richmond Heights and Clayton residents will have the opportunity Saturday to donate food to people in need as part of the Stamp Out Hunger National Food Drive. The event is sponsored by the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC).
"Local food banks are at their crisis level," said Keith Brown, business manager for Acosta sales and marketing company and a representative of Campbell's, which sponsors the food drive. He said the economic downturn has left St. Louis area food banks in need. The comments came during a news conference in Richmond Heights.
Letter carriers will collect donations of unopened, nonperishable food items left next to mailboxes. Goods can include peanut butter, soups and canned tuna.
The St. Louis Area Foodbank received almost 300,000 pounds of food in 2010 as part of the event, now in its 19th year. The food bank has a network of nearly 500 food pantries in the St. Louis area.
Communications coordinator Bethany Prange said during the news conference that the food bank serves 57,000 people weekly. She said one in eight people in the bistate region are in need of food assistance.
Among the event's sponsors are: The U.S. Postal Service, Campbell's, Valpak, Feeding America, the AFL-CIO and Uncle Bob's Self Storage.
The grocers Dierbergs, Shop 'n Save and Schnucks are also participating. Shop 'n Save* is providing bags for people interested participating in the food drive, and Schnucks is selling $10 bags of nonperishable goods at its stores.
The grocers employ members of AFL-CIO unions in the St. Louis area such as United Food and Commercial Workers Local 655; Bakery, Tobacco and Grain Local 4; Meatcutters' Local 88; and Service Employee International Union Local 1, said Marcia Cline, vice president of labor participation for the United Way of Greater St. Louis.
Valerie Welsch, a media contact with the U.S. Postal Service in the St. Louis metro area, said all post offices in St. Louis County should be participating in the food drive. In 2010, St. Louis area letter carriers collected nearly 417,000 pounds of food, and nationally, letter carriers collected a record 77.1 million pounds of food, she stated in an email.
Since 1993, the NALC has collected more than 1 billion pounds of food through the nationwide event, which is the largest single-day food drive in the U.S.
More than 1,500 NALC branches from every state, involving more than 10,000 cities and towns, are expected to have more than 230,000 letter carriers collecting nonperishable goods Saturday.CITY # POUNDS COLLECTED Clayton 60,221 Affton (includes Mackenzie Pointe and Sappington) 49,583 Creve Coeur (includes Des Peres, Gaffney, Olivette and West County) 43,317 Southwest (includes Maryville Gardens, Chouteau, Gravois, Maplewood and Benton Park) 32,465 Town and Country 16,779 Kirkwood 14,878 Jennings (includes Normandy and North County) 12,482 Harriet Woods (University City) 8,293 Arnold* 22,250 Fenton* 13,652 O'Fallon, MO* 18,930 Wentzville* 11,951
* denotes associate offices that primarily gave food donations to local pantries. The remaining cities are hub sites that primarily gave food donations to the St. Louis Area Foodbank. Donation numbers provided by Barry Linan, vice president of the National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 343.