The National Association of Letter Carriers, NALC, in association with the Pstal Service, has been conducting a national food drive on the 2nd Saturday in May for 13 years.
The Food Drive actually started quite a bit before that, on a local level right here in Phoenix. I believe the first year I started working as a letter carrier, 1978, was the second year for the Drive. It collects millions of pounds of donated canned and dry goods for distribution to food banks and charities across the US.
My current route, which encompasses a large seniors-only trailer park and an upscale neighborhod of large homes on half-acre lots, tends to get a lot of donations.
Most of this comes from the trailer park residents, a lot of whom are on restricted incomes themselves. Well over half the 350 residents of the park left out a bag of food, sometimes multiple bags, by their mailbox Saturday.
By contrast, of the 160 families in the upscale neighborhood, only about 25-30 left out donations.
And that was a better response from the upscalers than I've had in previous years.
And it was a lot better than the response I got from my previous route. That was mostly a very upscale, golf-course-outside-the-back-door gated community, a stone's throw from the million-dollar estates in Paradise Valley. The last time I collected from the over-300 residences there, I drove back to the station with a single plastic tray holding about two dozen cans.
It may be a cliche, but the empirical evidence I've seen on the food drives does seem to suggest that the more money a household has, the less likely they are to donate to charitable causes.
Why is that? And what would it take to change that?