LA CROSSE, Wis. - The struggle to put food on the table is anything but shrinking for some people in our community.
Letter carriers from the U. S. Postal Service were doing their part to help Saturday.
The end of the school year is just weeks away, which leaves local food pantries bracing for a sharp increase in need.
It makes the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive that much more important in keeping thousands of people from going hungry for the next several months.
On this day, Tim Griffin isn't following his typical work routine.
"We work extra hard today," said Griffin. "That's for sure."
He's making his usual routes as a letter carrier for the U.S Postal Service, but he's picking up donations for the food drive.20111210
"Yup, another good collection," Griffin said while picking up a donation.
"Well, it's the letter carrier's way of giving back to the community," said Griffin.
"We're fortunate enough to have jobs. There's a lot of people that don't."
The food will go to help several communities in area.
"Every little bit helps," said Erin Waldhart, executive director of the WAFER Food Pantry.
WAFER distributes more than 100,000 pounds of food a month to local families struggling to keep food on the table, and that number isn't going down.
"This is a really important time that this food drive is happening because it builds up our supply before the heavy summer months," said Waldhart.
"Even with the economy coming back the way that it has been, there's still a great need," said Vern Strayer, a volunteer with the Salvation Army.
Strayer said this is the most donations he's seen so far in all his years with the event, but more is still needed.
" This food will not only go to the Savlation Army, but it will go to like 15 other food pantries in the La Crosse county area," said Strayer. "So it is spread out pretty thin."
And while it means a little more work for Griffin, he said it's well wrorth the effort.
"This is a good thing," said Griffin. "It's good for the people. It's good for the community. You can go to bed at night and sleep knowing that you helped someone else ."
The donations will not only go to the WAFER Food Pantry and Salvation Army, but it will also help the Hunger Task Force, the Onalask Food Basket and New Horizons Shelter and Outreach Center.
Last year, this food drive brought in more than 125,300 pounds of donations.
The final weigh in for this year's collection won't be in for about another week.
Saturday's food drive was a part the nation wide Stamp Out Hunger event.
About 175,000 letter carriers across the U.S. collected food donations that will help serve roughly 10,000 communities.
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