For 20 years, Travis Abdullah has spent one Saturday every spring collecting food for people in need.
He is a postal carrier in Havre, and gets a great deal of enjoyment out of helping stock the shelves of the Havre Food Bank by collecting contributions from people throughout the community.
People are asked to leave nonperishable food items near their mailboxes for carriers to pick them up, take them to their trucks and see that they get to people in need.
It’s part of the annual National Association of Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive.
The drive has always been a success in Havre, Abdullah said. Usually two tons of food are collected for the needy.
Nationwide, 74 million pounds of food was donated. It is the largest single donation of food.
“We deliver the mail as we usually do,” he said. “But we also pick up the food and bring it to our trucks,” Abdullah said.
Spring is a good time for the drive, he said. During the winter holidays, people donate to food banks, he said. But those kind of donations decline in the spring.
“We just like to do our part,” he said. “We just ask people to put the non-perishable food near their mailboxes so we can pick it up.”
Food should be left in bags or boxes if possible, he said.
According to the national Letter Carriers organization:
• 49 million Americans — one in six — are unsure where their next meal is coming from.
• 16 million are children who feel hunger’s impact on their overall health and ability to perform in school.
• Nearly 5 million seniors over age 60 are food insecure. Many live on fixed incomes and are often too embarrassed to ask for help.