Postal carriers in Goldsboro and Wayne County were not only delivering mail Saturday but also picking up blue bags filled with nonperishable food items to help organizations and communities all over the city and county.
The postal carriers and volunteers who helped unload the trucks were participating in the 26th annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive as part of a nationwide event.
The first wave of mail trucks started rolling into the Cashwell Drive post office a little before 2 p.m., and about 20 volunteers were waiting for them. The blue bags of canned goods soon lined the wall, and volunteers pushed hand carts filled with the food items.
Rosaline G. Waters, a volunteer from Holy Ghost Drawing Center, said this year is the second time she has participated.
“I do it to help the community,” she said. “It makes me feel really good that I’m doing something to help feed the hungry, people that’s in need.”
A fellow volunteer from Holy Ghost Drawing Center, Alvert Baldwin, was also volunteering for her second year.
“It gives me joy to help somebody that needs to eat, or the homeless who don’t have a place to stay and they need food,” Baldwin said. “So, when I put something back for a family, I feel like I’m doing something to feed a family.”
Dustin Bannister, strategic initiative director for United Way of Wayne County, said United Way collaborates with a number of organizations that help people in the community through the food drive.
Traditionally the food has gone to the Domestic Violence Center, the Holy Ghost Drawing Center, St. Vincent de Paul, the Community Soup Kitchen, Salvation Army and United Church Ministries, Bannister said.
As he watched the food being unloaded, Bannister said it shows the character of Goldsboro.
“It certainly shows a responsiveness to needs,” he said.
Each of the organizations that receives the food items provides volunteers, including Habitat for Humanity that provides a truck, and 4-Day Movement’s youth group, Bannister said.
The Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive usually attracts more than 30 volunteers, Bannister said.
“It’s a large volunteer operation,” he said.
Tom Hunsberger, food drive coordinator for the Postal Service in Goldsboro, said the goal this year is 30,000 pounds of food items compared to 28,000 pounds last year.
Last week carriers put 35,000 blue bags and cards at every mailbox, asking people to fill the bags with food items and set them beside their mailboxes.
“Everything that is collected here stays here even though it’s a nationwide event,” he said. “We get a very good response here in the area.”
Hunsberger has participated in 22 Stamp Out Hunger Food Drives, and seven of those were in Goldsboro.
“I absolutely love it,” he said. “The food drive is my favorite week to be a mail carrier. It’s just the sense of helping people. I enjoy helping the community out and seeing the support given by the community. It’s just wonderful.”
Fifty city and rural carriers collected the food this year, Hunsberger said.
“This is the largest single day food drive in the country and one of the largest in the world,” he said.