The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

May 9, 2014

More than Mail

By Amy Kent Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald

CLINTON — For two decades the men and women of the United States Post Office in Clinton have been giving back to the community with their Stamp Out Hunger food drive and on Saturday, they expect to generate the greatest amount of support in their 20-year history.

Stamp Out Hunger is the world's largest, one-day food drive that has generated more than 1.3 billion pounds of food nationwide in its 20-year existence 74 million pounds of food just last year alone The Clinton post office collected 50,000 pounds of food during last year's food drive.

"It would be devastating to the community if it were to end," U.S. Postal worker Tom Goldensoph said. "Also, it would put a lot of pressure on local and national organizations that already do this kind of thing, to not have this contribution."

Goldensoph is one of many postal workers who will collect food items Saturday during his normal delivery route, but he also helped plan this year's drive.

Accompanying him in the organization of the drive were Clinton National Association of Letter Carriers union president Chad Tinderholt and postal worker Cindi Kusk, who spearheaded most of the planning.

Both Tinderholt and Goldensoph have participated in the food drive for 10 years and both admit to being astonished at the support the community has given them in that time.

"The community is very giving so it's pretty surprising when you get out there," Tinderholt said. "Every small town in the area will get involved. It's really a great experience."

Once the workers collect all the food from Clinton and surrounding communities, they will then distribute it to local food pantries throughout the entire county.

For people who donate in Camanche, those food items will be taken to the Camanche food pantry; for those who donate in Low Moor, that food will be delivered to the Low Moor food pantry and so on.

In doing so, the post office is able to distribute the food items they collect to a number of families in need throughout the entire region.

"There is a high percentage of elderly and children who are hungry," Tinderholt said.

"And we see it every day," Goldensoph added. "We see a lot more than most people know about."

Though the food drive itself is not sponsored through the United States Postal Service but instead by the NALC union, Clinton postmaster Ellen Opperman said she and others in her position around the nation are huge supporters of the cause.

"The agreement is that we allow it to happen. It's a no-gain, no-loss situation for us," she said. "I'm happy to do so, though, because it's pretty impressive to see what they accomplish."