Residents of the Tampa Bay area are struggling in many ways during this recession, but there has been no decline in their generosity. One example: St. Petersburg, Tampa and Clearwater ranked first, third and fourth nationally in the amount of food collected last month during the one-day National Association of Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive.
Postal workers in those three cities picked up the donations residents placed beside their mailboxes, collecting 4.8 million pounds of food by the end of the day. Florida collected 11 million pounds — the top state in the nation.
Food banks and feeding centers around the country have come to rely on the annual postal drive to help stock their shelves during a time of year when donations typically are low. The help was particularly important this year, with social service agencies staggered by the growing numbers of people who need food. A hallmark of the postal drive, now in its ninth year, is that the food remains in the local communities where it is donated.
This lingering recession has been hard on Florida. So it is remarkable, and a point of pride, that despite their personal challenges, Floridians continue to find room in their hearts and budgets to help so many of their neighbors.