The annual food drive by the National Association of Letter Carriers topped its previous record by collecting 73.4 million pounds of food this year. It's a testament to the generous impulses of Americans, many of whom might be expected to be more focused on their own problems this year.

It's also good public relations for the letter carriers and even more for the Postal Service, which not too long ago increased the cost of a first-class postage for the third year in a row.

All of the food collected by the letter carriers is delivered to local food banks and pantries. Recession-related job loss has put a strain on many Americans, and food banks have suffered as a consequence. Locally, the Lowcountry Food Bank has distributed a million pounds of food each month since November, an increase of 300,000 pounds per month.

The Food Bank now operates with the new Paul Hulsey Community Food and Nutrition Center, a splendid example of cooperative efforts by the private and public sectors.

The letter carriers association could burnish this year's championship Stamp Out Hunger food drive by holding it semi-annually, at least as long as the hard times last.

It would be an appropriate gesture producing meaningful results, and would raise the public's awareness about the ongoing needs of food banks nationwide.