Within an hour of receiving his donation bag, one Laramie resident brought it brimming with food to the local post office to be donated to those in need.
The charitable resident will be one of many donating food items as part of the National Association of Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger National Food Drive, said Ben Brosmire, president of the NALC’s local union branch 463.
“Laramie collected 8,442 pounds of food last year,” Brosmire said. “We’ve seen an increase every year, so that’s fantastic. This year, we hope to top that.”
Residents wishing to help those in the county experiencing food insecurity can donate nonperishable food items without even leaving their homes this week by bagging them and placing them by the mailbox for the letter carrier to pick up. The effort is even extending to the University of Wyoming’s dorms this year, Brosmire said.
The drive is primarily focused for today, but the letter carriers and post office will accept food donations all next week as well.
“If it’s heavy, you can definitely leave a note, and we’ll come up to your door if it’s too much to get to the (mail)box or the weather’s poor,” Brosmire added.
Laramie is one of many cities nationwide that takes part in the food drive. Brosmire said in the 1980s and 1990s, letter carriers in cities like Chicago hosted their own food drives before combining into a larger, nationwide initiative with the Post office master general. The food drive is usually in the spring, he added, “because that’s when the food pantries are depleted from Thanksgiving and Christmas.”
Although it’s a national effort, the food donated by Laramie residents doesn’t travel very far.
“That’s actually one of the major tenants of the food drive, is that any food collected nationally stays in the local communities where it’s collected,” Brosmire said.
The donated food will go to help the Laramie Soup Kitchen and the food bank at Interfaith-Good Samaritan, and Brosmire said the Laramie letter carriers have “partnered with them for years.”
Almost any nonperishable food will be accepted, but the hope is residents will focus on healthy options over junk food.
“We try to keep it healthy — obviously, the Soup Kitchen tries to serve the healthiest meals they can,” Brosmire said. “Interfaith is into that as well.”
Local letter carriers have been delivering information cards and providing donation bags to residents this week for the event. Watching the community come together for the drive, he said, is one of his favorite parts.
“The post office touches every house every day, so we think this is the best way to get people involved,” Brosmire said.
The nationwide initiative has collected a grand total of 1.67 billion pounds of food for local communities since its inception 27 years ago. Usually on the second Saturday of May, the food drive is considered “the largest one-day food drive in the nation,” according to the U.S. Postal Service website.