This week’s column on volunteerism will run a bit differently than usual. It’s similar to one of the previous personal reflections, yet different as it’s asking something of you, the readers.
For the past six years or so, my mother has been running the National Association of Letter Carriers’ (NALC) annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive out of the Addison, IL office. For years I remember helping put up posters around Addison, sitting in the car while she made stops throughout the weeks leading up to it to request donations, either for the drive or for the volunteers, and helping her write up drafts of sponsorship letters and press releases. All of this in addition to weighing and sorting donated food prior to its delivery.
Each town’s office has a union representative who organizes the local drive. This person solicits local businesses, and local chapters of national businesses, to donate food, set up donation drop off points, or donate items for volunteers.
This person contacts local non-profits, such as food pantries and shelters, to see if they could use some of the food. This is done in addition to arranging pick-ups or drop offs once the food is collected.
The representative also either delegates to another volunteer, or handles it his/herself, to market the drive. This includes getting posters hung in various places around town, sending out press releases, ensuring the reminder post cards get delivered (via regular carrier), and even sometimes contacting the local municipality to advertise on town signs and such.
This person also organizes a small group of volunteers to help throughout the day of the actual drive. Help is needed in weighing donations, sorting foods, and even sometimes delivering it to the non-profits pre-scheduled to receive it.
At the beginning of this, I mentioned that this will be asking something of you, the readers. What I’m asking is simple. It’s a way for you to give back so volunteer without having to leave your homes.
Your task is this: Clean out your cabinets. Throw all of your non-perishable foods that you either won’t use, or just feel you could spare, (that haven’t expired) into a bag. Or three bags. Or however many bags it takes for you to leave your cabinets sparkling and shiny-clean. Then place these bags by your mailbox early Saturday morning. I promise you that those bags will be removed, free of charge and you won’t even have to call anyone. Then you can pat yourselves on the back for a job well done and know that you made a difference for a local non-profit.