Archived Story

Time to set food by the mailbox

Published 9:00am Sunday, May 4, 2014

The postal carriers in Albert Lea hope to beat out their rivals from Austin again this year when it comes to collecting food for the hungry.

The Albert Lea branch of the National Association of Letter Carriers and the motor-route mail carriers will participate Saturday in the 22nd annual NALC food drive. It will be the 20th year for the Albert Lea branch of the union.

The food collected is weighed at the Albert Lea post office and goes directly to the Salvation Army Food Shelf and to the Ecumenical Food Shelf at First Presbyterian Church of Albert Lea.

“It really runs like clockwork every year,” said postal carrier Scott Pirsig.

The friendly competition with Austin goes back to 2007, and Pirsig said Albert Lea has won every year except once.

Albert Lea residents donated 14,241 pounds of food for the 2013 drive, while Austin residents donated 10,700.

The amount raised in each city nationally is listed by the union. He said Albert Lea consistently outperforms cities of the same size. He noted that in Minnesota Albert Lea regularly does better than Owatonna, Faribault, Fairmont and, except that one time, Austin.

“Albert Lea is generous. We watch out for our own,” Pirsig said. “It’s just very impressive.”

The carriers will deliver a postcard reminder this week and will give out bags to hold the food. People can set the food in or near mailboxes to be picked up Saturday.

Nationwide, the postal carriers collected more than 74 million pounds of food. In the history of the drive, 1.3 billion pounds have been picked up.