Food bank’s largest food drive to take place at the curb

The National Association of Letter Carriers will hold its annual food drive this weekend, with all the food collected at mailboxes and the post office going to the local food bank.

The drive, called Stamp Out Hunger, will take place this Saturday around the country. Last year on Vashon, it brought in enough food for more than 4,000 meals, according to Vashon Maury Community Food Bank Executive Director Yvonne Pitrof, who said the drive is the food bank’s largest of the year.

“It makes an incredible impact,” she said. “It’s a rare event that I actually see our truck completely full from … and this one just about does that. No food drive comes close to this.”

The drive is timed to refill the food bank’s shelves for the summer months, Pitrof noted, as stockpiles collected during the winter holiday season run low this time of year. Additionally, she said, for some families, the need for additional food in the summer months is even greater since students don’t have access to free or reduced meal programs while not in school.

Pitrof said food donations from several sources are down, and Saturday’s gleanings will be welcomed.

“We could really use it, for sure,” she said.

Islanders are welcome to drop food off at the Vashon Post Office on Saturday if they are in town, or they can simply leave non-perishable food next to their mailboxes that day for letter carriers to pick up.

The carriers deserve credit for the event, Pitrof noted. They choose to participate in the drive, even though Vashon is not automatically included because of its rural nature.

“Our postal carriers make sure it happens here. They put in they hard work, and they make this happen every year.”

In recent years, the food bank has served about 15 percent of the island’s population annually, which translates into one of seven islanders who need help with grocery expenses, Pitrof said.

The food bank asks that islanders give non-perishable foods such as peanut butter, tuna, canned beans, canned soups, canned fruits and vegetables and condiments. It is also collecting pet food and toiletries.



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