Saturday the National Association of Letter Carriers will be delivering the mail, and picking up canned and boxed goods for what has become one of the nation’s single largest food drives.

Donations of food left by mailboxes will be collected by letter carriers and though the drive is a nationwide effort, the food collected in each community stays in that community, to “help stamp out hunger” locally, said Jonie Hutchison, food drive chair for Brownwood.

In 2007, Hutchison said, the national drive collected 70,745,176 pounds of food for the needy. “The total for the first 15 years of this event is 836.2 million pounds.

This is the 16th year of the drive and the 15th year that Brownwood local branch 1389 has been involved. Our sister branch, San Saba, has been involved for the past several years, too.”

Hutchison said the food collected locally is delivered to St. John’s Episcopal Church, “which has a great food pantry with wonderful volunteers. They are our receiver and distributor for the local drive.

“Brownwood is blessed with a few good solutions to hunger and they are needed. The food pantry there will help any one who needs groceries. You just have to ask.”

Boy Scout Troop One has been instrumental in getting the food collected, sorted and stored. Hutchison said the Scouts have worked side-by-side with the people at St. John’s on food drive day for the past several years.

“We are truly thankful for these people and what they do for our community,” Hutchison said.

“Putting food out by your mail box is probably one of the easiest charitable acts there is, and we have tremendous success because people do care and do want to help.”

Hutchison said according to the statistics the association has been given, in 2006, 3.4 million seniors in this country were living in poverty and an estimated 30 million people face hunger every day — 12 million of those are children.

Nonperishable food donations, canned or cardboard packages — no glass containers please — can be left by the mailbox Saturday morning and the letter carriers will pick the up the items.