9,000 pounds of food collected

Published 9:31 am Monday, May 14, 2012

Albert Lea residents donated more than 9,000 pounds of food Saturday during the National Association of Letter Carriers Food Drive.

The total donations surpassed those given by Austin residents, in what has become a friendly competition between the two cities.

Scott Pirsig, Albert Lea letter carrier and coordinator of the local food drive, said Austin residents donated a little more than 8,000 pounds of food, according to Saturday tallies. Final donations given today will be added in.

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“I want to thank everyone who contributed,” Pirsig said. “This community really watches out for its own.”

As part of the largest one-day food drive in the nation, the carriers collected food at or near residents’ mailboxes during their normal mail delivery. The food was weighed at the respective post offices and then immediately released to area food shelves.

In Albert Lea, food was donated to the Salvation Army, the First Presbyterian Ecumenical Food Shelf and Loaves and Fishes through St. Theodore Catholic Church.

Pirsig said even though Albert Lea’s totals were lower than in recent years — residents donated about 12,000 pounds in 2011 and have donated as much as 16,700 pounds prior to that — he noted that the people who contributed gave generously.

He said the letter carriers usually hand out grocery bags to leave a donation but did not do that this year. They did, however, send out postcards notifying people of the collection.

It was also a busy weekend with the fishing opener and Mother’s Day.

This is the 20th year for the annual food drive nationally and the 18th year for the Albert Lea branch to take an active role in the drive.