WALLA WALLA -- It was, by any standard, a landslide, said Toby Swank with the Walla Walla Post Office.
The May 8 National Association of Letter Carriers' annual food drive was expected to push the 18-year national total collected poundage over the one billion mark.
Last year's giving set a record of nearly 74 million pounds from pantries across America, and preliminary data so far puts this year within reach of hitting or breaking 2009's record, according to the national organization.
The Walla Walla area was completely on board, as well, said Swank, who coordinates the local postal carriers drive. Between Walla Walla and College Place postal customers, 13,736 pounds of food was collected, cooking last year's record of 11,900 pounds.
All the groceries were delivered to Blue Mountain Action Council Food Bank.
"We still have a little food trickling in, as well as some money. Each dollar donated translates to a pound of food," he said. "I don't have a total on that yet, but we are extremely happy and excited that we broke our own local record in a 'down' year."
In addition, last Saturday's food drive facilitated by local Pathfinders from the Seventh-day Adventist Church brought in just under 8,000 pounds of food, noted Gail McGhee, manager of the BMAC food bank.
"So you can see from these two food drives being only a week apart, that there is a tremendous amount of support from our community for others."
His crew is thinking ahead to 2011, Swank said. "We hope to have similar success next year and we're planning to step it up even more."
For those still wishing to donate, call 529-3561 or go to the food bank at 921 W. Cherry St.
Sheila Hagar can be reached at email@example.com or 526-8322. Check out her blog at blogs.ublabs.org/fromthestorageroom.