Sunday, December 5, 2010

Time for Mailers to Stand Up

These are hard times.   Over 15 million Americans are out of work, and over 6 million have been out of work for more than six months.   When the economy is tough, foodbanks become the primary source of food for thousands of people who do not have the resources to feed their families.  Living without is toughest during the Christmas season when all media is saturated with advertising encouraging spending.

One of the greatest programs to help provide food for the poor has been the National Association of Letter Carriers food drive.  For 18 years letter carriers have collected non-perishable foods from households which have gone a long way to fill the shelves at foodbanks.  This program has become so successful, that alternative sources of donations could not fill foodbank shelves without the National Association of Letter Carriers and sponsors that promote the food drive.

Unfortunately, in upstate New York the food drive was canceled this year due to the lack of a sponsor to promote the drive.   The Utica Observer-Dispatch reported that "corporate underwriters pulled funding in 2008 that was used to purchase about 1.5 million postcards used to notify residents about the food drive."  In 2009, the drive was held without sponsorship but collections dropped by 87.5%.   "Carriers in Rome, New York, had annually collected about 8,200 pounds of food. In 2009, when no notices were mailed, those carriers collected about 1,000 pounds.", Maureen Marion, a Postal Service spokeswoman told the reporter for the paper.

Without a sponsor, only word of mouth was available to promote the 2010 drive.   Given the lack of success in 2009 without postcards and other publicity, trying to do it this year was deemed futile so the food drive was cancelled.

Now how much money is needed to get this drive back in business? To tell the truth, I have no clue.   But I am sure there are many people who read this blog who know to the penny how much it would cost and might even have some idea regarding how much it would cost to reinforce the postcards with the use of web based advertising and social media.    Could there be a better advertisement for mail than a concerted campaign to use mail in conjunction with other media to feed the hungry? 

Time is short to get something going but I am sure the letter carriers in upstate New York would be glad to make the extra effort to collect the non-perishable food even during this heavy mailing season as they had done for the previous 18 years.  Who among the readers of this blog is willing to the get this food drive restarted in upstate New York.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Also worthy of mention ...

To help: Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency will collect canned goods and nonperishable food until Wednesday, Dec. 15, at the following locations:

* Main Office, 9882 River Road, Utica.
* Rome Office, 1721 Black River Blvd.
* Herkimer Office, 401 E. German St., Herkimer.

Direct Mailers can send packages with canned foods(preferably Priority Mail), while USPS Corporate Relations can coordinate their postcard campaign.