By Arvilla Pritchard
It quickly became clear that Little Valley's 2010 Letter Carriers' Food Drive was going to be a record-breaker.
(From lower left) Girl Scouts Brianna Gasper, Traci Titus, Taylor Lavelle and Erin Washburn build a leaning tower of foodstuffs on the antique Triner postal scale. The girls carefully weighed and tallied one batch after another, then repacked the sorted foods for delivery to Valley View Baptist Church’s food pantry.
The Little Valley Post Office has been participating in the effort for nine years, but this was the first time, arrangements had been made whereby rural route patrons could also contribute to the endeavor. When the postal delivery trucks started rolling in from their routes, the Girl Scouts doing the weigh-in saw their totals climbing.
To the postal workers' delight, they returned to their post office considerable more laden down than when they left. Many of the 1,400 postal patrons living in Little Valley's 14755 zip code area pitched in generously to this year's campaign, donating a total of 1,680 pounds of non-perishable foodstuffs to help "stamp out hunger."
This tremendous response was achieved despite uncooperative, sometimes downright nasty weather that brought down limbs and even trees all over the region, and interfered with electrical transmission in various locations.
But foul weather failed to discourage Little Valley Girl Scout Troop 10110, several of whom turned out to sort, weigh and repack the donated foods. While troop leader Jenn Titus and aide Lisa Washburn helped channel their charges'bubbling energy, the third and fourth graders made quick work of the job at hand. They separated glass containers from metal and boxed or packaged materials, then weighed each batch on an old Triner postal scales, brought forth from retirement for this very occasion.
No sooner had the girls completed their first round of contributions, when another of the department's sturdy little LLVs (long-life vehicles) pulled into the lot. Letter Carrier Barb Pond hopped out and started lugging in bagsful and cartons of assorted foodstuffs, and the scouts hustled back to work.
As explained by Little Valley Postmaster Debbie Rivet, this local effort is part of an annual nation-wide push by the U.S. Postal Service to combat hunger in the United States. She said that all of the food collected in the Little Valley zip zone will be donated to the Valley View Baptist Church, which maintains a food pantry that services the area.
The Little Valley Post Office employs a total of five workers (in addition to the postmaster), and maintains two "city" routes and two rural routes. "This is the first year we've had provisions for our rural patrons to participate," explained Postmaster Rivet, "and it looks like quite a few have done so."
"We've already topped our last year's total by at least a hundred pounds," she continued, "and there's still a bit more to come in. We're really so grateful to all our patrons, and of course, to the Girl Scouts for helping us help others."