With not all tallies in, this year’s Stamp Out Hunger annual food drive sponsored by the National Association of Letter Carriers and the U.S. Post Office broke a record in Salem, with 20,858 pounds collected on May 8.
Jenny McCormick, who is director of the Roanoke County/Salem Community Food Bank, said donations topped last year’s by more than 2,000 pounds.
More food was brought in to the Food Bank on Monday, and the collection received through the Catawba postal carriers is not included in Saturday’s total.
About 97 volunteers worked on Saturday afternoon to unload the cans and boxes of food in the garage area of the Salem Civic Center. They separated the bagged donations picked up by postal personnel on their rounds earlier in the day.
Volunteers are shelving some of the food at the pantry on Chapman Street.
Space there is insufficient for the full collection, McCormick said, and the remainder is in donated space in a nearby local warehouse.
Before the current hard times, the postal food collection kept the Salem pantry stocked for the rest of the year. Now with increased demand most of the food will be distributed to needy families in a much shorter time. Many Salem area church congregations maintain an on-going food collection for the pantry with some giving bread on a specific Sunday each month.
Carriers on routes outside of the Salem zip code took donated food to the Southwestern Virginia Second Harvest Food Bank, which has its area-wide warehouse in Salem that serves agencies in 26 counties. Those totals were still being tallied Monday, said Second Harvest representative Jeremy Butterfield.