May 4, 2004 – Letter carriers on St. Thomas and St. John usually drop things off, but this weekend they'll also be picking things up. As part of a national food drive conducted by postal workers, the public is being asked to donate canned goods that will go to local agencies that feed the poor.
The U.S. Postal Service has been collecting food for the poor and the homeless in the Virgin Islands for 12 years, Vera Thomas, local president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, said. In the Virgin Islands last year, more than half a ton of food and beverages were received.
"We're asking the public to donate non-perishable items like canned soup, juice, pasta, vegetables, cereal and rice, water — anything that is non-perishable and in unbreakable bottles," Thomas said on Monday.
Residents who have their mail delivered to free-standing roadside boxes can carefully package their food items and leave them by the mailbox on Saturday for pickup by their letter carriers, Thomas said.
Those who have their mail delivered to their homes or businesses can hand their packaged goods to their letter carriers.
Those who have post office mailboxes — and anyone else, for that matter — can take their donations to any St. Thomas post office or the one in Cruz Bay on Saturday.
Contributions also may be dropped off at three other St. Thomas locations — Fortress Self-Storage in Estate Thomas, East End Secretarial Services in Red Hook Plaza and Nisky Mail Boxes at Nisky Center.
If you can't make your donation on Saturday, there are other options: You can drop the items off at any post office on Friday or Monday, Thomas said.
Postal workers will package the items collected for delivery.
The 2003 food drive amassed 1,062 pounds of contributions. Catholic Charities of the Virgin Islands, the Salvation Army and the St. Andrew's and Methodist Church soup kitchens were beneficiaries.
The donated items were packed into bottled-water boxes. "Two soup kitchens and two charities were able to receive six boxes and one case of juice each," Thomas said.
Publisher's note : Like the St. John Source now? Find out how you can love us twice as much — and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice … click here.