CAPE ANN — Letter carriers from Gloucester, Ipswich, Manchester-by-the-Sea, and Rockport not only dropped off the mail Saturday, they also picked up tons — literally — of food on their routes.
The mailmen and mailwomen collected around 15,300 pounds of food donations for The Open Door during the annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive. The event marked the first in-person collection since before the pandemic.
Calling it “an event steeped in the spirit of community,” Julie LaFontaine, Open Door president and CEO, said, “At the end of the day, our shelves are stocked with food people need, and our inventory is bolstered for weeks to come. It’s all about neighbors helping neighbors.”
The day starts with people leaving bagged food donations by their mailboxes. As the mail is dropped off, “our local letter carriers go above and beyond collecting and delivering those donations,” LaFontaine said.
The groceries are then brought back to the local postal offices, where they are loaded into Open Door trucks.
Stamp Out Hunger is a nationwide initiative spearheaded by the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), and Saturday marked the 30th annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive.
NALC Branch 25 oversaw local participation in the event on Cape Ann and in Ipswich.
The Open Door requested most-needed items from residents, including coffee, condiments, cooking oil, peanut butter, and tuna.
“It’s a perfect fit, leaving food by a mailbox. Letter carriers go to every single mailbox every
single day. It’s a simple thing to do,” said Bruce Johnson of Essex, a retired Gloucester letter
carrier who continues to organize NALC Branch 25’s annual food drive.
“I know I feel so much gratitude helping someone that just deserves a helping hand,” he said.
State Sen. Bruce Tarr, Rep. Ann Margaret Ferrante, and Gloucester Mayor Greg Verga also
attended the event at the Open Door on Saturday thanking the letter carriers and volunteers for
their dedicated service to the community.
Approximately 45 volunteers of the Open Door supported letter-carriers on Saturday morning as
donations were collected, delivered, and unloaded, including members of Gloucester’s Mass