Single-day food drive returns to Ventura County
Postal workers aim to reduce hunger
By David Percival 05/10/2012
You don’t have to look far to find people who struggle to put food in their stomachs.
“It’s your co-worker in the next cubicle over,” said Bonnie Weigel, CEO of FOOD Share, a nonprofit organization committed to reducing hunger in Ventura County through food donation and public education. “[These people] are still in their homes, they’re just coming up short.”
On Saturday, May 12, local postal workers will help FOOD Share by carrying out the 20th annual Stamp Out Hunger event. Hosted by the National Association of Letter Carriers, Stamp out Hunger is a nationwide food drive whereby people are encouraged to leave bags of food by their mailboxes to be collected by postal workers and distributed to the needy through food banks.
Bryan Murphy is the chairman of the board for FOOD Share and chief claims officer for Farmers Insurance group, a major sponsor of Stamp Out Hunger.
“We work in conjunction with the postal facility in Thousand Oaks, and people are asked to contribute what they can in terms of nonperishable food,” said Murphy. “Our goal is to raise 150,000 pounds.”
Some nonperishable food is more sought after than the rest.
“Peanut butter is like gold,” said Weigel. “Rice and beans are always at the top of the list [and] tuna is always high on the list.”
After being collected by postal workers, the food is immediately sent to FOOD Share’s Oxnard warehouse before being distributed to the needy with the help of other nonprofit groups.
“We can house 1.2 million pounds of food in the warehouse,” said Weigel. “One hundred and fifty nonprofit partners, [including] the Rescue Mission and the Salvation Army, help to get the food out.”
The steadfast dedication of the National Association of Letter Carriers is a major reason why the single-day food drive is the largest in the country.
“[The postal workers] do the logistics like no one else,” said Weigel. “They have the ability to pick up the food and do it in an organized fashion.”
Murphy plans to turn the event into a family affair.
“I take my wife and two sons with me,” said Murphy. “You get satisfaction doing something in the community where you live and work.”
The one-day food drive is Saturday, May 12. Residents are encouraged to leave nonperishable food items in bags beside their mailboxes along the postal routes throughout the county. For more information, visit http://www.foodshare.com/NewsAndEvents/Events/Stamp_out_hunger.aspx.