Jewell Cardwell

If he could write a letter to the residents of Greater Akron, U.S. Post Office letter carrier Teddy Anderson would urge them to make a difference in the lives of people down on their luck by participating in Stamp Out Hunger on May 12.

Stamp Out Hunger, now in its 20th year, is the nation’s largest single-day food drive. The National Association of Letter Carriers and the Campbell Soup Co. join forces to help those struggling to feed their families.

The 59-year-old Anderson — a local letter carrier since 1974 and part of Stamp Out Hunger since its inception — is passionate about its mission. “The food drive is especially important in times like these — over the last 10 years or so during this huge economic downtown,” Anderson said.

“So, anything we can do to give back to the community, to help others, is really appreciated. This is one of the ways we’re able to do that.”

Residents are asked to place nonperishable food items next to their mailboxes on May 12, prior to the time of their regular mail delivery. Letter carriers will retrieve the items to take to the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank.

Anderson said that agency has received 613,952 pounds of food from the letter carriers since 1999, which translated into nearly half a million meals in the Akron-Canton area. “So, it’s a small thing we each can do individually, setting out a can or two of food, which helps so many,” Anderson noted. “It doesn’t take much to be beneficial to others.”

Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank — named the 2012 Member of the Year at the annual Feeding America Network Summit in Detroit — serves eight counties: Summit, Stark, Medina, Portage, Carroll, Holmes, Tuscarawas and Wayne.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the need for food is even more critical during the summer months as nearly 49 million Americans — many of them children — are at risk of going hungry.

Anderson does have a suggestion to this year’s donors: Don’t put a bag on your front porch that you don’t want taken by the letter carrier.

“I remember one memorable incident a few years ago. There probably are others like it around the country in other neighborhoods,” he began. He picked up a brown paper bag full of groceries on the front porch of one home and was delighted with the generosity.

“The next day when I want back, I found out those items had been left on the front porch by the homeowner who just went around back to unlock the door to bring the groceries inside. Fortunately that person was able to laugh about it and was happy to donate.”

So mark your calendar for May 12, and heed the call to do your part to Stamp Out Hunger. As Anderson has said, together we can all make a difference.

Heartwarming concert

The Summit Choral Society will host a benefit concert at 3 p.m. May 6 at St. Hilary Catholic Church in Fairlawn, to help the family of Mia Wilson with the cost of her health care. A love offering — cash and checks — will be collected during the performance of the society’s adult Masterworks Chorale and the Touring and Concert Choirs from the Summit Children’s Choir Program.

Mia, who has been featured in this column, was born Feb. 19, 2011, to Wendy and Bobby Wilson with a very rare congenital heart disease called Ebstein’s anomaly. Almost immediately after she was born, Mia was transported to the University of Michigan’s Mott Children’s Hospital.

The Wilsons, with their three other daughters, lived at the Ronald McDonald House near the hospital for the past year, uprooting their lives and careers to care for Mia, and just recently returned to their home in Manchester.

Mia underwent a plethora of major surgeries and other procedures; she is still far from out of the woods.

Not surprisingly, the family is struggling financially. To read more about Mia and how you can help, please visit www.miasbigheart.com.

Speech aid donation

Loretta Walleen, an Akron-area woman with her heart in the right place, would like to donate a Servox Digital Speech Aid to a laryngectomy patient who is not able to afford one.

Please message her about your need at queenwodahs2@yahoo.com as soon as possible.

Shaving head for cause

Adam Coleman soon will be sporting a new look for an important cause.

Coleman is accepting pledges to have his head shaved Sunday during a Generosity for Gino spaghetti dinner fundraiser to help the family of 10-year-old Gino Altieri of Stow, who is battling Stage 4 alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma for the second time. Adam and his wife, Valerie, are friends of the Altieris and already have secured $160 in pledges.

The dinner is noon to 8 p.m. at 3 Point restaurant, 45 E. Market St., Akron. Cost is $20 (cash or check only).

Cancer fundraiser

Looking for a fun time and an even greater campaign to support? Consider Vegas Nights, featuring an appearance by The Scintas at 6 p.m. Oct. 6, at the home of Steve Comunale.

All proceeds go to the Stephen A. Comunale Jr. Family Cancer Foundation, which financially assists local families in cancer battles.

More information on the event is available at http://?stephencomunale.org or by calling 330-835-5985.

Soldier gives back

Big, beautiful bouquets to Alaina Barnes of the Ohio National Guard, Troop 1484 Transportation Division, who recently dropped in on Sacred Heart School to present sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders with an American flag that flew over her Afghanistan base.

It was her way of thanking the school for the kindness it showed to her and fellow troops in October when they supported SHS’s “Treats for Troops,” a collection of Halloween treats, during their deployment.

That program was created by sixth-grade student Faith Reeling and her eighth-grade brother Tanner, cousins of Alaina, who was recently wounded and reassigned to Fort Hood for recovery.

Biking for Kenya

Mogadore’s Mark and Megan Booth don’t expect you to drop everything you’re doing to go on a nine-person, 600-mile ride with them over an 11-day period in Kenya’s Rift Valley area, but they are seeking your pledges.

Money raised will go to the $40,000 goal of building a school in Koi Barak to help the children there have a better future. For more information, please visit http://?bikekenya2012.blogspot.com.

Mark is a second-shift supervisor at Firestone Polymers and Megan works in customer service at Blind & Sons.

The couple worked in a school in Kenya’s Kibera area, what they call “the largest slum in Africa,” in 2005. They say that experience “was one of the best times of our lives.”

Cards for Andy

Interested in sending encouragement cards to Akron’s Andy Holcomb, who lost the lower half of his body seven years ago in an industrial accident?

Here’s where they should go: Andy Holcomb, P.O. Box 6209, Akron, Ohio 44312.

Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or emailed at jcardwell@thebeaconjournal.com