Residents can put food by mail boxes

Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Alice Echo-News Journal

Postal workers are committed to public service every day of the year. This Saturday across the nation postal workers will take that extra step to help others by conducting their 15th Annual Food Drive.

More than 10,000 communities nationwide are taking part in the event. On Saturday, while delivering and collecting mail on their usual routes, the 22 letter carriers in Alice will also be collecting non-perishable food items for the local Alice Food Pantry.

Residents can place their food donations on Saturday in plastic bags beside their mailbox, where letter carriers can easily collect them. Workers usually begin their routes by 9 a.m. and finish at 5:30 p.m.

Alice Postmaster Rhonda De La Paz said the annual event always takes place the Saturday before Mother's Day, and nationwide, the Postal Food Drive is the largest single volunteer event in the country.

She said that for the letter carriers, this activity is just another way they give back to the community. "They all enjoy it. They know they're a part of the community, and they want to make a difference," De La Paz said.

Local resident Larry Martinez is President of the National Association of Letter Carriers, Branch 1259, which serves the Coastal Bend area. He said that the Saturday food drive is a worthwhile effort and that the letter carriers are eager to help.

"This will be the 15th Annual Food Drive. We usually average anywhere from 4,000 to 6,000 pounds of food during the drive, through our coordination with the Alice Food Pantry. We'll be more than happy to pick up (the food) and help out the cause," Martinez said.

All of the food will be stored at the post office until Saturday evening, when Food Pantry volunteers come by to collect the donations.

De La Paz said those citizens who don't receive their mail from a mailbox can also participate by dropping off food donations starting today. They can also come by on Saturday to drop off food during the office hours of 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

"We'll be glad to take them," De La Paz said.