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Letter carriers to collect for annual food drive

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Mark A. Bartlett, local chapter president, said there are about 60 letter carriers from Pulaski to Alexandria Bay, but because some are a part of the National Rural Letter Carriers Association, not all might participate in the food drive.

In Watertown alone, the drive typically collects between 8,000 and 9,000 pounds of food for food pantries in the city. More than a billion pounds was collected nationally last year.

To participate, people just need to put nonperishable food items, or personal hygiene products, in a plastic bag and hang them on their mailbox.

“Sometimes we drive up and down the street and pick them up if we have to,” he said. “For people who go to the post office, there’s also a box there. That goes for the surrounding area as well.”

Mr. Bartlett said the food drive has been done both nationally and locally for 20 years. The U.S. Postal Service’s Albany district used to do another food drive in the fall, but that effort ended a couple of years ago.

He said the spring drive was kept because the need becomes so great in the summer while children are out of school.

“We do it this time of year because it hopefully keeps people’s cupboards full in the summer months,” Mr. Bartlett said. “This is another way for us to try to (connect) to the community.”

The Watertown Urban Mission is just one agency with a food pantry in Watertown that will benefit from food collected in the city of Watertown. That food pantry sees more than 600 families throughout June, July and August.

Mr. Bartlett said if people will not be around Saturday to participate they may either leave a bag of groceries on their mailbox or stop by their local food pantry and donate when time allows.

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