April 30, 2014

KITCHELL: One special delivery should be made on May 10


---- — As couples go, Dave and Julie Morris are not unusual in that they’ve been married for several years.

One of the ironic things about them though is that they’ve both worked for the U.S. Postal Service and they’re both getting ready to retire.

For Dave, there’s a long history of walking postal routes in your stereotypical “rain, snow or dark of night” days in Logansport. But what he and many like him locally will be remembered for as they hang up their blue uniforms for the last time is the commitment they’ve shown to the annual letter carrier food drive.

This is Dave’s last drive, and as if it wasn’t a good cause before when thousands of Logansport residents made it a remarkable day of giving to their fellow man, it’s even moreso this year.

There are always those people out there who are skeptical about where there money goes, who it benefits and how much cost is involved in the overhead of administering it. The beauty of the food drive is that it helps people right here, and no where else. It’s done with people who are already on our payroll. It may mean a little more work for them on a weekend, but it means more food on the table for people who have lost a job, been disabled or simply find they can’t make ends meet with the wages they’re paid.

This is one of those times of the year when local food pantries are traditionally low. Giving tends to reach a high point during the holidays, but by now, the cupboards are ready for spring cleaning. Children who qualify for free and reduced lunch programs will be out of school in a little over a month, and most of them will be eating at home. This is a population that is too young to work and one that benefits from the SNAP benefits Congress is considering cutting in part.

Even if they are employed, the working poor turn to the generosity in their own communities when hardship strikes, and even in this country, it strikes far too often. We’ve all probably heard the social disclaimer that most of us are only a paycheck or two away from facing difficult times.

It’s for those reasons and for Dave, who has worked so diligently on this drive over the years, that we all should dig a little deeper into our shelves and cabinets — and maybe even fill a sack at a local grocery store for someone who needs a decent meal more than we do.

What’s oftentimes hard to relate to people is why certain families face hardships. It could be because a breadwinner ran off, simply never to be heard from again. It could be because of fallout from legal action, or because of family strife, or drug or alcohol abuse.

Whatever the reason or reasons people find themselves in difficult circumstances that challenge their very ability to support themselves, it should not be a challenge to any of us to look in the mirror and say quietly to ourselves, “There but for the grace of God go I.”

Ten days from now is plenty of time for all of us to act, to send Dave off into retirement in style and to send the real spirit of community to people who are waiting as patiently as they can to survive.

If that’s not a special delivery for the postal service, then nothing ever will be.

Dave Kitchell is a columnist for the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at