Food drive collects nearly 15,000 pounds

Published 10:15 am Monday, May 10, 2010

Residents from Albert Lea and the surrounding rural areas donated almost 15,000 pounds of food Saturday during the 18th annual National Association of Letter Carriers Food Drive.

This is the third largest amount ever raised in Albert Lea for the drive, said Scott Pirsig, letter carrier and organizer of the food drive. Letter carriers ran out of thank-you cards because of all the donations.

“I wish we could knock on every door and thank every person,” Pirsig said. “It’s not a success without everyone pitching in.”

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This is the 16th year the Albert Lea branch has taken an active role in the food drive, the largest one-day food drive in the nation.

Albert Lea and rural mail carriers collected about 900 pounds more than what was collected by Austin mail carriers — who collected about 14,000 pounds of food, their highest total ever by about 3,000 pounds.

Albert Lea’s record is 16,700 pounds.

Mail carriers in the two cities have had a friendly competition the past four years to see who can collect the most during the drive. Albert Lea has won each year.

All food collected locally is donated to the Loaves and Fishes program at St. Theodore Catholic Church, along with First Presbyterian Church and the Albert Lea Salvation Army.

Pirsig said the carriers also collected $100 in donations, which was given to the Salvation Army.

People who forgot to donate food Saturday can drop off a donation today at the Albert Lea post office or leave their donation on their doorstep.

Pirsig said an extra 300 to 400 pounds is typically collected on the Monday after the food drive.

“We’re very happy with how Albert Lea really comes through with this,” he said. “It’s really a testament to the people of Albert Lea to give as much as they do.”

Nationally, carriers collected a record 73.4 million pounds of food in last year’s drive.

They were expected to break 1 billion pounds of food since the inception of the drive.