The National Association of Letter Carriers’ annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive gives residents the opportunity to donate non-perishables to community members in need
By Krista Cerminaro
On Saturday, May 12, Williamstown residents can do their part to help “Stamp Out Hunger” as the National Association of Letter Carriers’ 26th annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive gives the community an opportunity to help feed those in need.
Every second Saturday in May, just before Mother’s Day, residents can leave items by their mailboxes for their letter carrier to collect.
“We just ask for people to fill a bag, for families in need, of non-perishable food donations, cans, things like that,” delivery supervisor Stephanie Dashow said.
The United States Post Office in Williamstown has been participating in the nationwide event for more than 10 years, according to Dashow.
“It brings people together,” Dashow said. “[It] brings an awareness of people that might not be so fortunate.”
Once all the donations are retrieved and packed up, they’ll be dropped off at the Pfeiffer Center for families and residents to take as needed.
“They’ll fill a school bus — no lie — top to bottom, front to back, filled with food,” Lisa Christman, of the Pfeiffer Center community affairs office, said. “The bus gets dropped off here, it takes us a couple hours to empty the bus into a spare room that we have [and] about a week to go through it, and make sure things aren’t expired and sort everything.”
The donations will benefit the food pantry at the Pfeiffer Center, which is open every Friday from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., and 1 to 4 p.m.
The pantry at the Pfeiffer Center, located at 301 Blue Bell Road in Williamstown, is open to low-income residents — with valid proof of income — to visit once per month, with the exception of veterans, who can visit twice per month.
“We hear a lot of sad stories. People might come embarrassed and afraid, and won’t even look at you, but then when they leave … they’re really not ashamed anymore,” Christman said. “I always tell people, ‘I’m here to help you.’”
The pantry, according to Christman, has been in place for about 15 years and was a big help in assisting families without power during the microburst storm a few years back.
“People lost power for several days — they couldn’t eat, because all the stuff in their refrigerator was gone, so they came here,” Christman said.
Christman noted the pantry feeds about 125 families each month, with donations from soup and pasta, to cereal and vegetables.
“No one deserves to go hungry if there’s food around here,” Christman said. “It gets me upset when I see little kids starving, or seniors, or anybody.”
In addition to donations from the South Jersey Food Bank, Wawa, BJs and Sams Club and donations from community members, the volunteers at the pantry assemble bags for pantry-goers to take home for themselves and their families.
Volunteers also assist in running the pantry, checking the expiration dates of food donations and going as far as helping senior citizens carry the bags out to their cars.
“We try to take care of them,” Christman said.
Christman said residents interested in donating items can drop them off at the Pfeiffer Center Monday through Friday.
For more information on Stamp Out Hunger, visit http://www.stampouthungerfooddrive.us.