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Letter carriers collecting canned food Saturday

Have some extra mac and cheese, or extra canned corn?

Saturday, along with your letters, stick a can or two of nonperishable food in your mailbox for your letter carrier to pick up.

Saturday marks the national food drive where the National Association of Letter Carriers collects nonperishable food items for distribution to food banks. Food collected in Detroit Lakes and surrounding towns will go to the Becker County Food Pantry.

"Everyone at the post office participates, from the postmaster to the janitor. We have 100 percent cooperation," said Brenda Ahlfs, a Detroit Lakes letter carrier and organizer of the Detroit Lakes food drive.

This is the 15th anniversary of the food drive, and last year, 70.5 million pounds of food was collected, with 3,000 of that coming from Detroit Lakes.

Ahlfs said every year that number grows as the giving grows. She added that nationally, the United State Postal Service is aiming for collection of 100 million pounds in the next two years.

The postal employees take the donated food over to the pantry. Residents just need to leave the food at the mailbox.

Ahlfs said city delivery -- where carriers walk the route -- as in Detroit Lakes, can be heavy, but postal employees make the extra trip to their jeep or stockpile it on the boulevard until they can load it into their vehicle.

As a reminder, the postal service will be delivering postcards this week, asking for food donations be set out Saturday.