By Lauren Estes
The Cullman Times
Cullman Caring For Kids will partner with the postal service for a food donation drive Saturday that involves anyone locally with a mailbox.
Citizens will receive brown bags in their mailboxes and be able to fill them up with food and return the bags to the mailbox on Saturday morning before the mail runs. The food will be donated to local food banks, including Cullman Caring For Kids’ food bank, assistant director of CCFK Nancy Bryant said.
“Postal workers will participate in this event,” Bryant said. “Anyone can donate food, you just leave it in your mailboxes in the bags that will be mailed to you and postal workers will pick it up for us. We will then meet them and unload the food and it will be donated to the food bank and given out.”
Bryant said there are some foods that disappear from their food bank shelves faster than others.
“To make food go further, we need dried beans and rice, pastas, mac and cheese is a big thing; canned fruit and meat are things that we’re always lacking, juice-canned or bottled, loaves of bread, and stuff to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,” Bryant said. “We give out a very nutritional bag and it’s 25-30 pounds. Anything non-perishable is good, too.”
The directors ask if the food has been compromised to not donate it, but they can take some food that is past shelf life, depending on the USDA guidelines for that specific food item.
“Sometimes we get in food from this can drive that has been compromised and it takes a lot of time to go through that food,” Bryant said. “So, if you will eat it or would serve it to your family, then please put it out there, but don’t put something out there if you wouldn’t eat it yourself. We can give out some things that are out of date, but it depends on the time that follows the USDA guidelines.”
Cullman Caring For Kids director Javon Daniel said with the toughest season approaching for the food bank, this drive will help stock the shelves.
“This is the time of the year that our supplies really start dwindling down from the holidays,” Daniel said. “It will help us to continue to help people. We serve approximately 500 families a month and we distribute between six-eight tons of food each month. So it takes a lot of food to be able to do that. This is one of the biggest events that we have that someone else does for the food bank, which helps us out tremendously. It’s a shot in the arm, so to speak, for us to be able to make it through the summer months. Those are the toughest months, because kids are out of school.”
Daniel said Cullman Caring For Kids has been participating in the event for more than seven years and typically receives 5,000-7,000 pounds of food from the postal drive.
“We don’t get all the food that is collected in Cullman, just a portion,” Daniel said. “All the food that we get will be distributed to the clients that we serve every month.
“You figure 6-8 tons of food per month times 12, that’s over 100,000 tons of food that we distribute per year,” Daniel said. “There’s no way that we could just go out to the grocery store and buy that much food. Food donations and drives like this by schools, churches, the one The Cullman Times does are how we make it; If it weren’t for the community, really pitching in and helping us out, we couldn’t do as much as we do by any stretch of the imagination.”
Bryant said they receive food donations from Walmart, Food World and Big Lots and encourage any other businesses or grocery stores that would like to donate to Cullman Caring For Kids, to contact the office at 256-739-1111.
Cullman Caring For Kids is located next to the Folsom building under the first blue awning.
Lauren Estes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 256-734-2131, ext. 270.