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May of Caring in action in Pa. county

May 10, 2004|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - At the Waynesboro, Pa., Post Office Saturday, volunteers were unloading, sorting and distributing thousands of pounds of food collected by letter carriers.

Sunday afternoon, more volunteers were repackaging thousands of leftover books at the Friends of Legal Services 20th annual book sale.

Those are two events in which United Way of Franklin County volunteers are lending their support during the ninth annual "May of Caring," according to United Way Executive Director Cynthia L. Hawbaker.

"I'm trying to break him in early with community service," Michael A. Hockenberry said Saturday of his son, 12-year-old Matthew.

Hockenberry, the director of Allied Services at Waynesboro Hospital, was among a few dozen people sorting canned vegetables and fruits, pastas, cereals, sauces and other foods into post office cartons for distribution to the Waynesboro Welfare Association, the Waynesboro Human Services Council food pantry and The Lunch Place, another Waynesboro food program.

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"The hospital is always a pretty big participant with the United Way," Hockenberry said. He said he has been participating in the National Association of Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger food drive for about five years.

A number of families from the Chambersburg District of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also were helping move tons of food to the pantries.

Food donations usually are good around Thanksgiving and Christmas, but the shelves start getting bare in the spring and the May food drive by the letter carriers is a big help, said Janet Brockmann of the Waynesboro Welfare Association. Last year, donations were down because it rained the day of the collection, but two years ago, she said 13,000 pounds of food were collected for the food programs.

"If you go down and look at those shelves next week, you'll see it makes an impact," said Paul "Rusty" Sease, the shop steward at the post office. He said 10 city route carriers and nine rural route carriers did the collecting, with off-duty and retired postal workers and family members joining other volunteers in distributing the food.

It took months for members of Friends of Legal Services to collect, sort and package about 50,000 books for the annual sale, but a few dozen people had only a few hours to pack up the remaining books at the end of the sale Sunday afternoon at Wilson College.

"We did this last year and enjoyed it, so we volunteered again," attorney Denis DiLoreto said between stacking tables in Laird Hall. A board member of the Chambersburg Rotary Club and the United Way, he said about 15 club members and a few family members were packing books Sunday.

Esther Buck, a Friends volunteer, said the sale generated $38,000 to help Franklin County Legal Services Inc. and Mid-Penn Legal Services provide civil legal assistance to low-income individuals and families, about $5,000 more than last year.

United Way will be sending volunteers out on other projects this month, including maintenance at the Franklin County Therapeutic Riding Center on Franklin Farm Lane in Chambersburg, building a shelter at a local Girl Scout camp and hosting a social event for clients served by the Franklin-Fulton Association for Retarded Citizens, Hawbaker said.

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