Stamp out Hunger food drive collects more than 2,000 pounds of groceries

Brooke Curley Photo/Gila Valley Central: Wendy Zweiapher, left, works with Chad Simmons to organize and load the food donations to Our Neighbor's Farm & Pantry as part of the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive.

By Brooke Curley

SAFFORD – This Saturday, letter carriers collected donated food from all over the Gila Valley to benefit those in need.

Braving the day’s 90-degree heat in their delivery vehicles, local United Postal Service (USPS) letter carriers all over the Gila Valley put in the extra time to collect food for the needy as part of its Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive. Anyone interested in donating the extra food in their kitchens left non-perishable food items for the post office mail carriers to pick up in or on their post boxes. A hefty 2,240 pounds of food was collected by the USPS on Saturday and given to Our Neighbor’s Farm & Pantry food bank.

On average, an hour was added to the time it took for each carrier to finish their route because of the extra work. After their long day in the heat, the USPS personnel returned to the office and sorted the food into different groups to be loaded onto a truck. The truck then delivered the food to Our Neighbor’s Farm & Pantry food bank.

Brooke Curley Photo/Gila Valley Central: These boxes are only a small portion of food collected Saturday by the local USPS.

Sherri Clixby, director of Our Neighbor’s Farm & Pantry, said the food bank was very happy to receive the donations. This year was the first time Our Neighbor’s Farm & Pantry received donations from the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive.

“It is our first time we’re happy to get it. It looks like they have brought in a fair amount,” Clixby said. “This will really help. As we go into the summer, summer is a tough time. (The) end of summer (and the) beginning of fall things get a little scarce so this will really help us go that much further before we start worrying about what we’ve got.”

Clixby told Gila Valley Central that if anyone still wished to donate to the pantry, the following items were particularly useful.

Food Donation Item Ideas

Peanut butter

Spaghetti sauce
Spaghetti or noodles

Canned Fruit

Refried beans

Brooke Curley Photo/Gila Valley Central: Standing in front of the crates of collected food items are, front, from left, Ryder Abeyta, and Dylan Abeyta; back, from left, Joe Bell, Sherri Clixby, Jeff Zweicher and Wendy Zweicher.