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Hooksett pantry counting on a successful food drive on Saturday

HOOKSETT - Hooksett residents wishing to do their part need do no more than leave non-perishable goods out by their mailboxes today, as the U.S. Postal Service's 21st annual "Stamp Out Hunger" food drive comes again to town, in collaboration with the Hooksett Community Food Pantry.

The "Stamp Out Hunger" food drive is a nationwide collaboration of U.S. Postal Service letter carriers, local post offices, and communities.

Residents are asked to leave non-perishables outside for mail pickup or at the post office. Foods stored in glass are discouraged, and the pantry cannot take any food past its expiration date.

The collected food will be brought to the post office in Hooksett, where it will be sorted by volunteers from the pantry, the Knights of Columbus, and Scout Troop 292, and distributed to residents in Hooksett through the Hooksett Community Food Pantry over the next several months, with some of it being immediately available to the pantry's patrons.

"There's food that we'll be able to use right away, so that goes right out on shelves," said the Food Pantry chairwoman, and recently named Hooksett Citizen of the Year, Barbara Brennan.

The collected food is also weighed and counted in order to track for the nationwide goal.

The drive collected over 70 million pounds of food across the country last year, 2,227 pounds of it collected in Hooksett.

The drive is also key for the Hooksett pantry's shelves, keeping them stocked over the summer months.

"It's a great food drive for us because it really helps us get through the summer months before our food drive in November," said Brennan. "Be generous this time of year. People tend to be over-generous during the holidays, and it's always appreciated but this food drive is really helpful to us. Everybody kind of goes away during the summer months and forgets about us, but this is a very important food drive for us."

The Hooksett Pantry has participated in the drive since moving to its current location in 2009.

Previously, food from the drive collected in Hooksett would go to a collection area in Manchester, but Brennan lobbied to have the food stay in town.

"I went and talked to the post office and said 'hey, we've got a food pantry here. We can use the food here,'" said Brennan. "It's been staying in Hooksett since then. We have a great need for food in our community, so it really helps out."

The pantry will also hold an on-site food drive in the gym of the town offices today from 1 to 5 p.m.

The Hooksett Community Food Pantry is located at 35 Main Street, at the back of the town offices.

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