Postal carriers in the Killeen area will be making some special pick-ups from customers this weekend.

The National Association of Letter Carriers is holding its annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive around the United States this Saturday.

The U.S. Postal Service says the 27th-annual event is the nation’s largest single-day food drive.

“Every carrier, both rural and city, in Killeen and Harker Heights, (has been) delivering food bags to every resident that gets mail delivery,” said Kimberly Early, the postmaster for the Killeen area. Early said the bags began arriving in mail boxes last Saturday.

The event is traditionally scheduled for the Saturday before Mother’s Day.

“The carriers (will be) picking up the food bags...along with volunteers from the community,” Early said.

Dale Delaney is president of the local branch of the National Association of Letter Carriers. He said Tuesday that over 27,000 pounds of food was collected last year.

“When we have the bags...we tend to have better participation from the local community,” Delaney said

Last year, customers nationwide donated over 71 million pounds of food during the event.

Delaney wanted to emphasize that all food collected locally will stay in the community.

“Everything collected at the Copper Mountain Station and the main post office will go to the food bank just down the street from the post office (in Killeen),” Delaney said. “Harker Heights’ and Nolansville’s food will go to the Harker Heights food banks.”

Delaney said the event helps food banks get through the late spring and summer months, when food donations are typically lower.

Those who have their mail delivered to a community mail box can put their donation bags in the parcel locker, if it is open, or on top of the mail box, where letter carriers will it pick up during their rounds. Though they would like all food to be picked up Saturday, Delaney said carriers will continue to collect food bags from customers next week if they can’t make their donations over the weekend.

Delaney and Early agree that the annual food drive is an important way the post office and its carriers give back to the local community.

While any non-perishable item will be accepted, the postal service is hoping to get a lot of foods high in protein. Canned tuna, salmon, beans and peanut butter are examples of the most needed foods.

More information about the Stamp Out Hunger food drive is available online at stampouthungerfooddrive.us.

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