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Lawyer Michael Avenatti arrested on a domestic violence charge. Also on the Thursday rundown: More testimony on Ohio's "anti-protest" bill; and we'll take you to the Dakotas to celebrate American Education Week.

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Help IL Postal Workers "Stamp Out Hunger" This Weekend

Postal workers in Illinois are asking residents to help donate non-perishable foods this weekend, as letter carriers prepare for their nationwide annual food drive. (iStockphoto)
Postal workers in Illinois are asking residents to help donate non-perishable foods this weekend, as letter carriers prepare for their nationwide annual food drive. (iStockphoto)
May 13, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - As one in seven people in Illinois continues to struggle with hunger, this weekend the state's letter carriers will be working to help.

Saturday marks the 24th annual Letter Carriers' Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive.

The U.S. Postal Service is asking residents to set bags of non-perishable foods, cereal, pasta, canned fruits and vegetables, next to their mailbox.

Then carriers will pick them up and get the donated items to local food banks.

Elise Foster, vice president for the local Branch 11 of the National Association of Letter Carriers, says they hold the food drive in May to help restock food shelves just before schools let out for summer.

"That's the only meal that some of these kids get throughout the summer," says Foster. "Because the schools are going to be closed. So, this our way in May that we can reach those food pantries that have seen the decline after Thanksgiving and Christmas when those food pantries go empty."

She says this weekend's food drive will help stock some Illinois food banks for about six months.

Last year, the nationwide drive brought in about 71 million pounds of non-perishable food.

Foster says even though letter carriers will be pulling double duty this weekend, they're happy to be a part of the food drive.

She says letter carriers have a unique understanding of the neighborhoods where they work.

"We are in the community every day and we see the need," Foster says. "So, we play a vital role in the community in that we can get the customers to give. We also get feedback from the pantries, and they look forward to every year, they want to make sure they're on the list to be the recipients of that food."

In addition to current active-duty letter carriers, some retired postal workers and local volunteers will be helping deliver the donations to local food agencies.

Over the past 24 years, the drive has helped collect more than one billion pounds of food nationwide.

Brandon Campbell, Public News Service - IL