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Rain, snow, hunger not enough to stop postal service

5/12/2014

By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT

By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT

mkenwright@dailynews.net

The U.S. Postal Service in Hays participated in a national initiative Saturday to collect food for the needy.

Couriers picked up donations along their routes, said Donnie Shubert, Hays postmaster. The food was delivered to the Community Assistance Center in Hays.

They have collected an average of 8,000 to 10,000 pounds of food each year since the program began 21 years ago.

"It's just a great program," Shubert said. "It helps us give back, because the Hays area and the residents support us because, you know, we're not funded by taxes or anything. So we feel like we need to give back a little bit."

Lester Robben, a letter carrier who has coordinated the food drive since it started, said it would be his last year because he is retiring.

"It's really turned into a great success," Robben said. "When we first started out, it was pretty small. It was like 2,000-some pounds the first year. But since then, it has really grown."

The carrier praised the "generous spirit" of the local community.

"I think it just shows that everybody has a big heart here, and we try to take care of our own. And if we see someone in need, we try to help out," he said.

The post office will tally the total amount of food collected this week after late donations are collected.

Theresa Hill, co-director of the Community Assistance Center, said the drive is one of its two main food collections. Supplies were "very low" before being restocked, she said.

Ellis County residents can get four orders of food per year and shop for clothes once a month at the center. The nonprofit, which does not receive any government assistance, serves approximately 5,600 people annually.

Hill said 7,816 pounds of food were donated during the 203 mail food drive.

The Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is staged by the National Association of Letter Carriers. Approximately one in six Americans goes hungry or does not know where his or her next meal will come from, according to the group's website. The statistic amounts to approximately 49 million people nationwide.