"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds" -- so goes the ancient Greek translation describing the Persian system of mounted postal carriers.

The adage accurately applies to the Norwalk, Darien and Wilton letter carriers, who -- in the pouring rain -- collected more than 76,000 pounds of grocery items from households throughout the three towns to benefit Person-to-Person during the agency's 21st annual National Association of Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive.

Between 2 and 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 11, 112 postal trucks covering 117 routes delivered enough canned goods and other nonperishable foods to stock P2P's Norwalk and Darien food pantries for three months.

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In a collaboration with the other agencies, approximately 12,000 pounds of the total amount of groceries collected were contributed to Homes with Hope, Open Door Shelter, PIVOT Ministries and the Salvation Army. And, in an ongoing effort to not waste any contributions, any expired items appropriate for farm animals were donated to the Stamford Nature Center to feed the pigs and chickens.

"The event this year was a veritable food flood," Ed Kearns, site manager for the Norwalk facility, said. "Yes, it poured down rain, but when the postal trucks started arriving with their deliveries, we were absolutely, totally amazed at the sheer volume of donations."

Janet King, director of volunteers for Person-to-Person, was also amazed at the results.

"This was an incredible day of camaraderie and good will," she said. "Despite the rain, the mood was completely upbeat and positive, and a great opportunity for people of all ages, including families with children and youth groups, to work together for a very worthy cause."