News From Terre Haute, Indiana

May 3, 2013

Letter carriers food drive is May 11

Will start distributing collection bags today

Howard Greninger
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — About 120 U.S. Postal letter carriers today will start distributing plastic bags that can be filled with non perishable food items during the 21st annual Letter Carriers’ Food Drive.

The food drive, in partnership with Catholic Charities of Terre Haute, will be staged May 11. The filled bags can be left next to mailboxes on that day.

“We hope to break the record of 66 tons of food, set two years ago,” said Keith McElroy, food drive coordinator for the National Association of Letter Carriers, Local 479. “We have letter carriers in Clinton, Rockville, Sullivan, Marshall and Terre Haute, with West Terre Haute included in that,” he said.

“We think it is a wonderful cause,” McElroy said.

Last year, the food drive collected 51,291 pounds of food, “which equates to 47,750 meals,” said John Etling, director of Catholic Charities, which will distribute the food to soup kitchens and food pantries through Catholic Charities Foodbank.

“We really take painstaking efforts to keep food in local communities where it is collected,” Etling said.

Nationwide, the national letter carriers’ effort collected more than 70 million pounds of food last year and the food drive has collected more than 1.2 billion pounds of food nationwide in the past 20 years.

“This is something the Wabash Valley community has always rallied around and we have seen a phenomenal response, which is validation for the work we do but also is an expression of the sentiment in the community that we can help our neighbors who are in need,” Etling said.

Suggested food items to place into the plastic bags include peanut butter and jelly; hearty soups; canned chicken or tuna; canned fruit in juice; 100 percent fruit juice; canned vegetables; grains; iron rich cereal; or whole grain cereal.

Bags can also be picked up at Catholic Charities offices, 1801 Poplar St.; at Catholic Charities Foodbank at 14th and Locust streets; or at the United Way of the Wabash Valley, 2901 Ohio Blvd.

McElroy said members of the Wabash Valley Central Labor Council will help letter carriers by loading food bags into pickup trucks. The Terre Haute South Vigo High School football team will help unload and stack food supplies at the foodbank, McElroy said.

The plastic bags, with drawstrings, are sponsored by Union Hospital; B&S Plumbing; Papa John’s; IBEW Local 725; Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin; United Way of the Wabash Valley; and Bemis Inc., Etling said.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or