Thursday, May 09, 2013

Saturday Deliveries and Collections (Remember to Leave a Bag of Food by Your Mail Box on May 11)

Have you remembered to set aside that brown paper bag that came with your newspaper?  At the top are the words: Food  Drive/Saturday, May 11, 2013 Recolección de alimentos/Sábado 11 de mayo del 2013

There are many sponsors for this food drive, including Feeding America, the AARP Drive to End Hunger and the United States Postal Service (USPS).

But let us not forget that  one of the key promoters of the food drive is the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), the union that represents your friendly postman or postwoman.  According to the NALC, the food drive collected 70 million pounds of food last year.  The vast majority of the food collected was left by the mail box or taken to a post office on the Saturday of the food drive.
But did know that Saturday mail is at risk?  The USPS, which lost $16 billion last year, in February proposed a plan to cut back deliveries of first-class mail to weekdays, although packages would still be delivered on Saturdays.

This plan was temporarily scrapped for two reasons.  First, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), a nonpartisan investigative arm of Congress, declared in March that the USPS did not have the authority to make such a change without the approval of Congress.  Secondly, the Congress approved a spending plan that required the USPS to keep Saturday deliveries. Read more in Albuquerque Business First and The Chicago Tribune.

But the issue is not settled.  What we know for sure is that the plan to  cut back the delivery schedule will not go into effect on its planned date of  Aug. 5.  In April, the USPS said it would continue Saturday deliveries through at least Sept. 30 and possibly beyond that. But the door remains open for the USPS to undergo some internal reorganization, including the possibility of working with Congress to draft a plan to restructure its delivery schedule.

The changes would have a deep impact on letter carriers, since jobs could be eliminated and hours reduced.  I'm sure the NALC is deeply concerned.  The other secondary implication is what would happen to the twice-a-year food drives sponsored by the NALC, both of which occur on Saturdays.  The NALC and its partners will figure something out.  Perhaps the food drives would occur on a Friday or a Monday?

Regardless of what the future brings, it's time to focus on the present (or the very near future?) Please remember that The Stamp Out Hunger drive is still occurring this coming Saturday.  Check out this video from the organizers of the campaign.

So please take time to fill your bag and leave it by your mail box.  Annemarie Ciepieda Henton, a volunteer for the communications committee at Roadrunner Food Bank in Albuquerque, has a great suggestion.

"When you’re grocery shopping for that Mother’s Day brunch this week, throw some extra nonperishable food items in your cart, like soups, pasta, rice, canned vegetables and fruit and canned meats," Ms. Ciepiela Henton wrote in  Roadrunner Food Bank's blog. "Just leave them near your mailbox on Saturday, and Stamp Out Hunger partners will take care of the rest. Don’t have a mailbox? No problem. Just bring it to a post office near you."

Read her full piece entitled  Let's Stamp Out Hunger

No comments: