La Mesa community steps up to USPS food drive

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Stamp out Hunger Program, sponsored by the United States Postal Service collected thousands of pounds of food—a day that exceeded everybody’s expectations. Leaving a brown paper bag at each residence the USPS asked that the bag be filled with un-perishable food items.

“This food was given with open hearts from the families from East County even with the recession,” said Carol Rainey, Program Development director.

Stamp out Hunger Program, sponsored by the United States Postal Service collected thousands of pounds of food—a day that exceeded everybody’s expectations. Leaving a brown paper bag at each residence the USPS asked that the bag be filled with un-perishable food items.

“This food was given with open hearts from the families from East County even with the recession,” said Carol Rainey, Program Development director.

 Five trucks on Saturday were dispatched to the La Mesa Post Office and transported food back to Stepping Higher a non-profit organization that operates in Spring Valley. There was so much food that it did not fit into the panty and much of it had to be stored in another room. Other food pantries within East County received food from the other Post Offices.

With the extra food came extra responsibilities. Food distribution began on Wednesday evening and regular food distribution on Thursday and with each person received more food than ever before. This caused an excitement in the line of people waiting patiently in line. On Friday, volunteers prepared boxes of food for persons with disabilities and many sent caregivers to pick up the food. Nearly 40 volunteers participated in this food distribution program. With help from volunteers the program feeds approximately 550 families a week.

Two of the truck drivers involved in the extra 29,000 pounds of food were Eddie Robinson and Tommy Taylor.

“It was a nice blessing for the Post Office to give us this food. The Postal Workers even helped to load our truck. It took us three hours to finish their last delivery to Stepping Higher,” said Robinson.

Masheila Taylor, Program Services director said, “After the five trucks came back to the pantry fifteen volunteers were on hand to unload the trucks, sort, and stack all the food. We worked for three days until this task was completed.  I love feeding people especially children. I don’t want any child going hungry.”

Angela Wilson, pantry coordinator said she oversees all the food for distribution. 

“I check to see if sanitized and for spoilage,” she said. “I worked on Saturday until 11:00 p.m. Wow! I was amazed at the quantity and quality of the food we received from the brown paper bags. I really felt blessed to be part of this huge food distribution program. One woman wanted to know if we had baby food and we did.” 

Stepping Higher began with a motto of moving people in a positive direction in 2003 by Dr. William A. Benson. Some of their other services include: Independent/Sober Living Homes, Prison Reentry Program, Nutrition Programs, Youth Deferment Program, Counseling Services, and Emergency Food and Shelter Programs.