Letter carriers from Porterville to Lindsay fanned out Saturday for the 25th annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive sponsored by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, and while the collection was less than last year, local carriers were still pleased.

Ray Holdsworth, a letter carrier in charge of the local drive, reported Monday 13,600 pounds of food was collected on Saturday. That food is being distributed to the Porterville Gleaners, Helping Hands, Porterville Area Coordinating Council and St. Vincent de Paul Catholic charity to help people less fortunate in the area.

Holdsworth said the amount of food collected was down more than 50 percent from last year’s record haul of 30,000 pounds.

“I noticed a difference this year on my route,” he said on Monday.

Holdsworth said a delay in getting cards out to residents about the food drive and a lack of bags both hurt the effort.

Because of California’s ban on plastic bags, carriers were unable to deliver bags to homes prior to Saturday’s pickup. He said last year they probably delivered some 25,000 bags, but this year only had about 5,000 which were donated by Grocery Outlet and Lowe’s. Also, that ban means residents don’t have as many bags around the house to place the food inside.

“In year’s past we got bags. That generated a lot more food,” he said, estimating they would have collected 20-30 percent more food had they been able to deliver bags to postal customers.

Full story at The Recorder.