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Letter carriers cancel hunger

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Posted: Monday, May 16, 2011 12:45 pm

Postal worker Brenda Piana knows how much Sun Citians care about the less fortunate. They care tons.

Piana and letter carriers throughout the West Valley spent Saturday delivering mail and packages and collecting food as part of the National Association of Letter Carriers “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive.

The Valley View Community Food Bank and St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance are the beneficiaries of the food collected in the Sun Cities during Arizona’s largest single-day food drive.

“People out here are so generous,” Piana said. “It’s amazing what they give. We’ve always had a lot of luck out here.”

The collection day comes at a critical time because demand increases with children out of school who are no longer able to eat subsidized school breakfasts and lunches. That is compounded by the fact that food bank donations dwindle with many Arizonans going on vacations or, as in the Sun Cities, leaving for their summer homes out of state.

In last year’s Stamp Out Hunger campaign, Arizona letter carriers collected more than 2 million pounds of nonperishable food, including almost 1 million pounds in the Valley. Teresa Stinson, postmaster of the U.S. Post Office in Sun City, said the goal among the post offices in Sun City, Sun City West and Surprise was to collect 110,000 pounds of food after last year’s effort of roughly 90,000 throughout the three communities.

“We hope folks really try to dig deep this year,” Stinson said Saturday morning before the postal workers began their routes.

Throughout the weeks leading up to the food drive, letter carriers dropped off reminder postcards and special grocery bags at mailboxes to entice homeowners to take part in the nationwide effort.

The hard work seemed to pay off as Piana could be seen putting bags — sometimes several from one home — into the back of her delivery truck from homes on 99th Avenue north of Union Hills Drive in Sun City’s Phase III.

Piana, who has been delivering mail in Sun City for 19 years, said the annual effort is “a nice treat” and believes many Sun Citians do their part to help the less fortunate.

Stinson went a step further, saying Sun City lives up to its motto of the “city of volunteers” as she estimates between 50 and 75 percent of residents who live in the community full time do their part to contribute during the Stamp Out Hunger campaign.

Residents who did not have a chance to leave nonperishable food by their mailboxes on Saturday can stop by the Sun City post office at 9802 W. Bell Road through Tuesday with bags full of goods.

Items most needed by the food banks include canned fruit and soups, pasta, peanut butter, 100 percent fruit juice (in plastic bottles), canned meat, rice and cereal.

Zach Colick can be reached at 623-876-2522 or zcolick@yourwestvalley.com.

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