DEAR ABBY: Studies have shown that hunger in America is a much more serious problem than most people realize. A staggering 30 million people (10.4 percent of the population in the United States) depend on food banks and other charities in order to eat. The need for food increases in the summer because many children are out of school where they often receive free breakfasts and lunches. For some of them, the free food offered by the schools is their main meal of the day.
Because food supplies at food banks and charities diminish during summer months due to increased demand for assistance, a program in which letter carriers accept food donations and deliver them to food banks has been instituted.
Last year, nearly 3.5 million pounds of food were donated by postal customers, making it the most successful single-day food drive to date.
This year, on Saturday, May 12, 100,000 letter carriers across the United States will collect food donations. The National Association of Letter Carriers is proud to sponsor this drive, our ninth nationwide food drive to feed hungry children and adults.
Abby, your readers can help by leaving unopened containers of nonperishable foods next to their mailboxes for the carriers to pick up and deliver to local food banks and charities to replenish their supplies for the summer. Your assistance in making this the most successful food drive to date will be greatly appreciated by letter carriers, as well as the less fortunate who might otherwise go to bed hungry. -- JILL LEMONS, FOOD DRIVE COORDINATOR, CANOGA PARK, CALIF.
DEAR JILL: I'm pleased to publicize your food drive. People often don't realize that many of those who utilize these community food shelves are not homeless indigents, but working-poor families who are unable to earn enough to cover their monthly expenses. It's shocking and deplorable.
Readers: Deserving people will appreciate your special delivery of food from the heart. Almost all of us can afford to leave a little something. I know I can depend on you.
DEAR ABBY: One night last week, I accidentally poisoned my cat and almost killed him. All I did was put a small amount of flea and tick powder on him that was meant for my dog.
To make a long story short, the next morning I rushed my poor sick kitty to the closest vet. While the doctor was treating my feline, he told me that the mistake I made is a common one that he has seen many times.
Since then, I have spoken with two people whose pets died because they made the same unfortunate mistake.
I can't thank the good doctor and his staff enough for saving my beloved cat -- and for all their kindness when I was so distraught. Abby, I hope this warning will prevent other pet owners from making this same terrible mistake. -- JAMES C. EMERICK, VERO BEACH, FLA.
DEAR JAMES: I'm pleased your cat survived, and thank you for alerting other cat owners about the potential danger. Spring and summer are flea and tick season, so your warning is a timely one.
P.S. Please don't be so hard on yourself. Nobody is purr-fect.
Dear Abby is written by Pauline Phillips and daughter Jeanne Phillips.
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