People who deliver your mail are delivering a message to its customers this week. If you can donate any non-perishable food, it will go to good use.
It’s all a part of the National Association of Letter Carriers’ 20th annual “Stamp Out Hunger” national food drive. Letter carriers on Wednesday will be delivering cards that ask for donations and the following day will be delivering grocery bags for those donations.
The carriers will pick up the bags Friday and Saturday and deliver the donations to local post offices on Saturday.
In La Verne and Claremont, the food collected will be brought to the La Verne post office on White Avenue to be loaded onto trucks for delivery to two local food banks – Sowing Seeds for Life and People for People. Sowing Seeds will also get food from the Pomona post office.
Glendora resident Chris Roberts, the longtime radio voice of UCLA football and basketball, has lent his support to food drive locally.
Roberts, whose real name is Bob LaPeer, comes from a long line of postal carriers. His father, Willis LaPeer, and his uncle, Wellington LaPeer, worked for many years in El Monte. His grandfather, William LaPeer, was a postal worker in Detroit.
“This is a great cause and something close to my heart,” said Roberts, who this year begins his 21st year calling UCLA games. “I’m glad to help out in any way I
can. I just wish my father was still around to get involved as well. He would
have loved this.”
Roberts said his father and uncle both went by Bill. And so did his grandfather.
"They were all Bill LaPeer,” Roberts said. And this project would have certainly fit the Bill.
Speaking of names, Bob LaPeer changed his to Chris Roberts while working at KFXM in San Bernardino in 1970. The program director requested a name change because the station already had a Bob on the air.
He chose Roberts as his last name because the name on his driver’s license is Robert LaPeer and he chose Chris because of his admiration for legendary broadcaster Chris Schenkel. When Roberts moved on from KFXM, he kept his
new professional name. His legal name is still Robert LaPeer. Fortunately, his
bank accepts his checks in either name.
From 1982 through ’91, Roberts did play-by-play for Long Beach State football and basketball and some baseball. That stint included the 1990 season when the legendary George Allen was brought in as coach. Allen died after that season after football was discontinued after one more years.
Counting one year with Cal State Fullerton, since 1981 no one has broadcast more Division I college games in Southern California. Presumably, it is not even close.
Roberts reached such a lofty position in sports broadcasting the old fashioned way – he earned it.
When he was still Bob LaPeer, he played football, basketball and baseball at Baldwin Park High and baseball at Cal Poly Pomona. His love of sports drove him toward broadcasting. Early in his career he worked for such stations as KCIN in Victorville, KREO in Indio, and KWOW in Pomona prior to hooking up with KFXM and changing his name.
Later came stints at L.A. stations KUTE-FM, KFI and sister station KOST, and KMPC.
The letter carriers’ “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive is the largest of its kind in the country.
Heading up the food drive in La Verne and Claremont is Tony Mazuca, the head steward to the local chapter of the letter carriers union. Among those assisting him is his wife Linda. Both are La Verne letter carriers.
“Our letter carriers devote a lot of their own time to this food drive,” Mazuca said. “And picking up all the donations is a lot of extra work. They do this to help those in need.”
What they get in return is a barbecue put on by Tony and Linda Mazuca on Saturday afternoon behind the La Verne post office. That is also where they load the donations onto trucks for delivery to Sowing Seeds for Life and People for People.
Mazuca said donations that come in after Saturday will also be delivered to the two charities.
Greg DeSmet, representing Sowing Seeds for Life, said, “This is the third year that the letter carriers have done this for our charity. It’s all pretty amazing.”
Sponsors nationally include the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, the Campbell Soup Company, Valpak envelopes, U.S. Postal Service, United Way, AFL-CIO, Feeding America, Uncle Bob’s Self-Storage and AARP.
Campbell Soup and AARP are donating the grocery bags for the donations of non-perishable food, including pet food.
“The employees of the Campbell Soup Company shared your passion for ensuring the health and welfare of individuals in every community,” said Campbell President Denise Morrison.
“Our support is an important part of this effort,” said AARP President Jo Ann Jenkins, whose organization is also helping promote the “Stamp Out Hunger” drive.
And so are many others.