BRISTOL - Volunteers unloaded a busload of food donations at the Bristol Post Office Saturday during the 26th annual Letter Carriers’ Food Drive. These items will be sent to stock seven local non-profits
Drivers from each organization were given a map and drove out to areas throughout Bristol, reporting back to the Letter Carriers with food that had been left for them. Volunteers sorted the donations into pasta, cereal, canned goods and food in glass jars. They then packaged and weighed them for shipment to Apage House, Meals for Neighbors, St. Ann Church, Hillside Community Church’s “Necessities Covered” food pantry, St. Vincent DePaul Mission, The Salvation Army and The Christian Fellowship Center.
Kellye Jones, co-organizer of the food drive, said that last year 1,100 pounds of food were collected during the drive, which is organized nationally in May by the Letter Carriers union.
“We do this because the community needs it,” said Jones. “Each year we bring in a little more than our goal. The people of Bristol have been very helpful every year. This food doesn’t just go to the homeless - it also is used to help out a lot of single parents, the elderly and shut-ins. The food we collect today will last these organizations through until September or November. Then our post office specifically will hold a Thanksgiving Turkey drive, which we have been doing for the last four years. This is also usually very successful and will get these organizations enough food to last them through May.”
Cheryl Yetke, of Meals for Neighbors with Zion Lutheran Church, said that last year each organization benefited from 55 boxes of donated items. Necessities Covered is a new addition to the beneficiary organizations this year.
“Monday through Thursday we serve 80 to 100 people a night,” said Yetke. “We also provide three to four bags of groceries for 100 families every three weeks. This kind of help is tremendous.”
“We serve 45 people a day,” said Chris Thebarge with the Agape House. “This helps us not have to buy as much food, which keeps our doors open and our lights on. We are open from 8 to noon and we serve breakfast and lunch.”
Paul Norton, another food drive coordinator, praised Jones for the success of the event.
“She’s done a great job and we are so thankful to the community for their participation in this year’s food drive,” he said. “We’re hoping to surpass what we brought in last year.”
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.