I joined the staff of Loaves and Fishes Community services six years ago and this coming May 12, I will participate in my seventh food drive hosted by U.S. Letter Carriers union members in conjunction with the United States Postal Service.

All over our country, letter carriers organize food drives across towns and cities to support local food pantries. We are honored to partner in this food drive and be the recipients of the incredible outpouring of food from the Naperville community. We have partnered in this annual food drive for more than 20 years. Last year we received over 97,000 pounds of food through this drive, making it one of the largest efforts in the entire country.

This year I would like to encourage our generous community to consider making donations of healthy, non-perishable food for this collection. Low sodium canned goods or products with less sugar are often no more expensive than the alternatives. Whole wheat products and grains help provide a healthy, balanced diet. Lastly, nutritious cereals, oatmeal, and granola products help provide students and adults with a healthy start to their day.

We have about 800 families that visit Loaves & Fishes and shop in our market each week. Increasing access to nutritious, healthy food can assist our neighbors in our community by improving their physical and mental health beyond so-called ‘belly fillers’ which are easily accessible and often lack nutrients. The proceeds of the past food drives have helped to maintain a variety of products on our market shelves through the critical summer months and into September.

Thank you to our wonderful Naperville Letter Carriers and to the great Naperville Community for all the support. We truly appreciate your support on May 12.