Postal food drive donations dry up

Donations to the annual letter-carrier food drive have plunged over the past two years, meaning less for Fresno County's needy, charity officials say. Organizers blame a tight economy, as well as the loss of brown paper bags that for years served as familiar reminders for the annual campaign.

In 2007 -- the last year the postal carriers put paper grocery bags in mailboxes to remind people of the upcoming food drive -- Fresno letter carriers collected 252,000 pounds of food, said Kathryn Weakland, development director at Poverello House.

In 2008, donations dropped to 65,600 pounds, and this year donations fell even further, to 55,500 pounds.

With no paper sacks for residents to fill with food and leave by their mailboxes, the Stamp Out Hunger food drive last Saturday was "out of sight, out of mind," Weakland said.

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