When Payson letter carriers come to your neighborhood Saturday, they hope to pick up more than 4 tons of unusual mail.
The National Association of Letter Carriers and the U.S. Post Office will be collecting nonperishable food items like canned soup, juice, pasta, rice and cereal on Saturday, May 14 to help Rim country families in need.
Residents are asked to donate to this annual food drive by leaving non-perishable food items on top of neighborhood mailbox units. Glass items will not be accepted.
"The food drive is especially important at this time of the year because most people don't think about the need through the summer months," Payson Postmaster Kathy Almendarez said.
Postal workers and volunteers will collect and deliver donations to the St. Vincent de Paul food bank in Payson. Donations will also be accepted at the Payson Post Office, 100 W. Frontier St., from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.
"Many of the people in the service industry in this community are working two jobs -- sometimes three, to make ends meet," said Robert Closs, President of St. Vincent de Paul Society, which operates the Payson food bank. "With the loss of any one of those jobs they are at our food bank door asking for temporary assistance"
Closs said each day the food bank is open, 25 to 30 families come looking for food.
"These are working families who just need a little temporary assistance."
St. Vincent de Paul food bank provided assistance to more than 16,500 people in northern Gila County during the past 12 months.
"It's surprising how much our little food bank is doing. People in town may not know it, but we also assist Payson Community Kids and Payson Senior Center. So if you donate food this Saturday, you are helping a lot of people."
The Payson Food Bank is open 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, and 10 a.m. to noon Saturday.
"We really appreciate the Payson community for their help in supporting this event," Almendarez said.
For more information about the food drive, call the post office at (928) 474-2972, or the food bank at (928) 474-9104.