If you donated to the National Association of Letter Carriers’ 20th annual “Stamp Out Hunger” national food drive last week, you’ll be glad to know your donations
went to good use.
Last Saturday, the donated items were brought in by letter carriers to drop-off locations, generally larger post offices, for distributions to various food banks.
One of the food banks locally on the receiving end was Sowing Seeds for Life, or SSFL. Glendora resident Vicki Brown, the CEO of the La Verne-based non-profit, said her organization received more than 11,500 pounds of food and other non-perishable items collected by postal workers in La Verne, Claremont and Pomona.
Part of those donations will be distributed to needy people at the next bi-monthly SSFL food giveaway Wednesday at the DPI Labs parking lot at 1350 Arrow Highway in La Verne. Brown is also CEO of DPI Labs, an aerospace company.
SSFL has food giveaways the first and third Wednesday of every month, providing food and other commodities to some 6,000 people per month.
What is not distributed at this week’s SSFL giveaway will be stored for future
The La Verne post office on White Avenue, the drop-off location for letter carriers
servicing La Verne and Claremont, was a hub of activity on Saturday. Among
those on hand were La Verne city council members Robert Rodriquez, La Verne’s
mayor pro tem, and Robin Carder.
Also, Chris Roberts of Glendora, the radio voice of UCLA football and basketball, was there to lend support. Roberts’ father, uncle and grandfather were all postal workers.
Letter carriers and volunteers placed the goods into big boxes, which were placed on pallets, weighed and loaded onto bobtail trucks. A total of 26,500 pounds of food were brought in.
SSFL had two Penske rental trucks and about a dozen volunteers, including a group from the Faith Lutheran Church in San Dimas, at the La Verne post office. The SSFL volunteers loaded up about 10,000 pounds of food and goods, with the rest going to People for People.
SSFL also picked up more than 1,500 pounds
from the Pomona post office.
After the loaded trucks arrived at the DPI, SSFL volunteers headed by Jim Anderson, laboriously organized the donations into various categories, such as soups, vegetables, cereals and so forth.
“We got about the same amount of food we got last year,” Brown said, “but the quality is much better this year. I think people are learning what we can use. We have to throw out anything that is outdated.”
Tony Mazuca, the head steward for the local letter carriers' union, said, “I think we’ve done a good job of letting our customers know what to donate and what not to donate. For example, canned goods are ideal. But dairy products or anything that can spoil, are not.”
As a reward to the letter carries and volunteers, Mazuca and his wife Linda put on one of their traditional barbecues, serving hamburgers and hot dogs with all the trimmings, as well as soft drinks. And, as in the past, they offered fried cactus, which they harvest from their own garden.
“It not only tastes good, it is good for you,” Tony says.
This is the third year SSFL has been a beneficiary of the letter carriers’ food drive.
“You’ve got so many people -- the letter carriers, all their customers and all the volunteers –- working for a common good,” Brown said. “It shows how much people care about helping the less fortunate. It’s really amazing.”