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Letter carriers set to stamp out local child hunger; Project Blue Light to honor local police officers

Sue Guinn Legg • May 9, 2018 at 7:42 PM

When schools let out for summer, community pantries go to work to meet the increased need for food that comes when low-income children are without the free and reduced-price school meals their families depend on to keep them fed.

For the past 25 years the National Association of Letter Carriers has been among the first to step up to meet that need and will keep the tradition going Saturday, May 12, with their 26th annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive at mailboxes everywhere.

It’s the largest one-day food drive in the nation and the key to its overwhelming success is the ease with which everyone can participate.

It’s as simple as a walk to your mailbox with a bag of nonperishable food items for your letter carrier to pick up and deliver to the nearest food bank. Just leave the bag in plain sight of your mailbox and your letter carrier will do the rest.

In Northeast Tennessee, food donations to the drive go to Second Harvest Food Bank in Kingsport and from there on to approximately 200 community-based pantries and congregate feeding sites in eight area counties that partner with the food bank to meet the local need for summer food.

Folks at Second Harvest say the drive helps restock their shelves after winter and allows them to gear up for their summer feeding programs for families who struggle with hunger without the meals their children receive at school.

“Letter carriers see these struggles in the communities they serve and believe that it is important to do what they can to help,” Second Harvest said in press release.

The food bank staff specifically requested donations of pasta, pasta sauce, canned meat, canned fruit, rice and cereal and encouraged everyone to consider the fight against local hunger and chip in a donation before the mail runs on Saturday.

“These donations will help us feed the 40,000 individuals we serve each month and will remain in the county where the donation originates. Because of this, residents are able to directly impact those around them who are facing hunger,” Second Harvest said.

More information about the food drive may be obtained by contacting Second Harvest at 423-279-0430 or online at stampouthungerfooddrive.us.

National Police Week gets underway on Monday, May 13, and Tetrick Funeral & Cremation Services, 3001 Peoples St. is inviting the community to honor local law enforcement through Project Blue Light.

While supplies last, the funeral home will be giving away blue light bulbs for local residents to burn on their front porches in honor both fallen officers and those who put their lives on the line daily to protect their communities.

Initiated in 1989 by the mother-in-law of a Philadelphia officer who was killed in the line of duty, Project Blue Light originally honored only fallen officers, but now honors both living and deceased officers year round. National Police Week has been observed since 1962.

Laura Graham, Tetrick community outreach coordinator, said, “With all that is happening today in our ever-changing world, this is a small token in saying thank you to those officers who daily lay their lives down to protect us.”

More information about the project may be obtained by calling Graham at the funeral home at 423-610-7171.

If there is a need or a project in your neighborhood the Good Neighbor column can assist with, contact Sue Guinn Legg at 423-722-0538 or P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605.

Email Sue Guinn Legg at slegg@johnsoncitypress.com. Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook at facebook.com/sueleggjcpress.

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