Gordon Collins (left on ground) and Carl Hokanson, both of Tinley Park, accept crates of food donations delivered to Together We Cope’s food pantry by volunteers with the Tinley Park post office's Stamp Out Hunger campaign. | Supplied photo
Updated: July 10, 2013 6:02AM
Warm weather, kind hearts and many volunteers combined to set a new record for the annual “Stamp out Hunger” post office food drive in Tinley Park benefiting Together We Cope.
Bob Johnston, a U.S. Postal Service letter carrier and member of food drive sponsor National Association of Letter Carriers said a record 43,344 pounds of food was collected in Tinley Park by letter carriers and Together We Cope volunteers who picked up staple food items left on doorsteps by Tinley Park residents.
“I think more people put out food for our drive this year. The nice weather really helped, and people were really generous,” Johnston said.
Johnston has participated in “Stamp out Hunger” for more than 20 years, and has been in charge of the Tinley Park effort for nine years.
Ninety-five percent of the food collected this year was donated to the Together We Cope food pantry, 10710 Oak Park Ave., Tinley Park, where nearly 65 families in need per day receive a week’s supply of groceries.
The remainder of the food was donated to smaller community pantries in the area.
Kathryn Straniero, executive director of Together We Cope, said the post office drive is critical to TWC’s pantry operation.
“This effort each May helps keep our pantry shelves stocked during the lean summer months,” she said. “We rely on our partners at the post office to help us continue meeting the needs of families in our region as they deal with temporary crisis.”
Together We Cope has received food from the “Stamp out Hunger” campaign since 1997. The first drive brought in 9,300 pounds of food. Sixteen years (and many tons of food) later, the drive remains a major donation to the agency.
For more information on Together We Cope, visit www.togetherwecope.org.
The nonprofit assists families in temporary crisis from 22 south suburban communities through its food pantry, resale shop and financial aid for some costs such as mortgage, rent and utility payments.