Letter Carriers' Food Drive a Huge Su...

Letter Carriers' Food Drive a Huge Success!

Posted in the Dedham Forum

Jean Hall

Norwood, MA

#1 May 22, 2013
According to the U.S. Postal Service, neither snow nor rain nor gloom of night can get the better of their dauntless employees. So the occasional drizzle didn’t stand a chance on Saturday, May 11 – when Norwood and Westwood letter carriers conducted their annual food drive.

“The people of Norwood and Westwood really hit a home run on this one,” says Jack Curran, drive coordinator and Vice-President of Local 742, which includes both towns.“What with the weather and the dip in charitable giving we’ve been reading about, we thought we’d be lucky to match last year’s total of about 15,000 pounds. But when all the counting was done, this year’s donations added up to 16,730 pounds – about 8-1/3 tons!”

“People were extraordinarily generous,” says Ruth Taeger, Executive Director of the Norwood pantry.“Around four o’clock, the back of the Baptist Parish House, where we were collecting the food, looked like a Post Office parking lot, as truck after truck pulled up.”

Over 40 carriers participated in the drive, many of them bringing along friends and family to help unload. Pantry volunteers were also on hand, toting bags, boxes, and tubs of everything from peanut butter and jelly to pasta, cereal, and canned ham – until the stage at the front of the room began to resemble a veritable mountain of food.

“This is beautiful,” Stock and Rotation Manager Bill Discepolo was heard to remark.“Added to our regular donations, it’s a huge step toward getting us through the summer.”

Throughout the session, volunteers refueled on pizzas and soft drinks provided by the carriers. And by about six P.M., everything was stored and ready for the next phase.

“How long do you figure it will take to sort all this?” someone asked. Taeger, a veteran of 20 previous food drives, received some dubious looks when she casually replied,“Oh, about two and a half hours.” But as it turned out, things went even faster than that.

“We had a tried-and-true system in place,” Taeger said with a wink.“We had set up four long rows of tables with big banana boxes donated by local supermarkets. Each one was labeled with a specific type of food and arranged alphabetically. Then, with the help of 50 wonderful volunteers from Instron, FM Global, and the pantry, the boxes were filled and replaced and filled again, until we wound up with a total of 478. The whole job – which looked pretty intimidating at first – took only two hours and 15 minutes!”

That evening, the pickup brigade – five trucks and 11 volunteers – stepped in and finished the job by loading everything up and making multiple runs to the pantry’s storage shed.“It all went off like clockwork,” says Taeger.“And I want to personally thank every single person involved.

“The people of Norwood and Westwood continue to amaze me with their kindness and concern for their neighbors in need. You couldn’t ask for a better bunch of men and women on your side than the carriers, who so selflessly donated their time and energy. And the turnout of volunteers for all the other jobs was truly overwhelming.

“Whether you gave, collected, carried, sorted, or participated in some other way, your help is deeply appreciated. And because of it, a family who might otherwise go hungry this summer will be able to put food on the table.”

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