Mail carriers gear up for annual food collection

Published 9:47 am Thursday, May 7, 2015

Albert Lea mail carriers will once again participate in the National Association of Letter Carriers food drive.

Mail carriers will pick up the nonperishable food items for the drive on Saturday at normal mail delivery times. Scott Pirsig, food drive coordinator, said all Albert Lea residents will get a bag for food drive items in their mailboxes today.

Residents can fill that bag and any additional bags or boxes and leave them by their mailboxes, Pirsig said. Apartment renters can also participate by leaving the bags by their mailbox area.

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The national food drive is in its 23rd year, and Albert Lea has been participating for 21 years. Pirsig, who has been coordinating the drive for 20 of the 21 years, said this is the largest one-day food drive in the nation.

Last year carriers collected 72 million pounds of food nationwide and 15,562 pounds in Albert Lea. This is the second highest total in the 20 years Albert Lea had been participating in the drive, Pirsig said.

“It’s amazing how we consistently have our patrons donate,” Pirsig said.

Albert Lea also surpassed donations given by Austin residents. The food drive has become a friendly competition between the two cities, Pirsig said.

And Albert Lea consistently donates more than area cities with the same or bigger population, Pirsig said.

“It’s the generous people that are making it work,” he said.

Over the history of the food drive, over 1.3 billion pounds of food have been collected.

Once the food has been collected for the drive, it will be weighed at the Albert Lea post office and released to Albert Lea food shelves for distribution.