Helping feed Douglas County's homeless and needy could be as simple as setting out a few cans or boxes of food with your mail on Saturday.
Your mail carrier will take it from there.
For the 10th year, letter carriers in Lawrence and more than 10,000 cities across the country will collect nonperishable food donations left by mailboxes and in post offices and, with the help of volunteers, will deliver them to local food banks, pantries and shelters. The National Association of Letter Carriers National Food Drive is the largest one-day food drive in the nation.
Food collected in the Lawrence area last year it amounted to 18,340 pounds will be divided among ECKAN, Salvation Army, Penn House, Ballard Center and Pelathe, said Joyce Molina, Douglas County ECKAN coordinator.
She said ECKAN and other agencies would have volunteers stationed at the post offices on Saturday to help box up donations as they came in. The food will be a welcome relief at ECKAN, where Molina said the pantry certainly isn't bare but potentially could be emptied by strong need within a few days.
"What I've got in there right now, I can go through like in a week," she said. "It would be nice to be full."
Historically, mail carriers nationwide have been involved in providing community service to the neighborhoods where they deliver mail. A handful of letter carriers unions had collected food for the needy and, in 1991, a pilot drive was staged in 10 cities. That grew into today's nationwide effort, which has resulted in the collection of more than 460 million pounds of food in nine years.
Lawrence letter carriers, who already have their hands full on the job, always look with enthusiasm toward the annual food drive, said Ron McKay, customer service manager at Jayhawk Station.
"It's something they take pride in," he said.