In addition to delivering and picking up mail Saturday, Wayne County letter carriers will also be picking up food for local charitable organizations.

The annual letter carriers food drive will take place all day Saturday. They slipped bags in which to put the food into mailboxes on their routes Tuesday.

Anyone wanting to help Wayne County's needy should place nonperishable foods in the bag or any other kind of bag and leave it in their mailbox to be picked up Saturday. If the donation is too large to fit into the mailbox, you can take your items to one of Goldsboro's two post offices on William Street and Cashwell Drive.

"We are looking for any kind of nonperishable foods," said food drive coordinator Sheila Cash. "And it cannot be expired. We can also take boxed items like rice, mashed potatoes or other foods. For kids, cans of pastas or macaroni and cheese would work well.

"We're looking for something that would make a meal for someone."

The letter carriers will be on their normal routes Saturday. If a carrier picks up too much food to carry in his or her vehicle, that carrier can call the Salvation Army, which will send one of its trucks to pick up the food. Or if a carrier finds a big food donation at one of his stops, he can call the Salvation Army to pick it up.

At the end of the day when the mail trucks get back to the post office, volunteers will be on hand to help unload the vehicles, put all the food into barrels and take it to be weighed. Then trucks from the Salvation Army and personal vehicles of United Way of Wayne County volunteers will distribute the food to local agencies like the Community Soup Kitchen, United Church Ministries, Domestic Violence Shelter and the Salvation Army.

Last year, letter carriers collected 37,000 pounds of food, Cash said. She said this year's goal is 30,000 pounds of food.

"It was just an overwhelming amount of food collected last year, and we were surprised to get that much," she said. "We looked through past years' collections and saw what worked and what didn't. This year's goal is an average of past years."

Cash said it's a long, hard day for letter carriers, but totally worth it.

"It just makes our job a little bit more special on that day," she said. "You have people who sit and wait for the mail all day and you're sometimes the only person they get to talk to, so when they are able to give food and talk to us, it's rewarding and makes you feel good about what you're doing.

"We want to help our local agencies to help our community and be able to give back."

Cash said people respond well to the food drive, putting nonperishables in their mailbox or on their porch.

"In fact, we get a lot of calls that for some reason we didn't see the food, and we go back out and get it," she said. "They're willing to do just as much as we are on the giving side of it. They're happy to give."

If you forget about the food pickup Saturday or have a big donation, you can take it to either of Goldsboro's post offices up until and even after Saturday.