Postal workers across the nation are hoping to collect more than just mail on their routes this weekend. They’re hoping to find bags of non-perishable food as well.
National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), in conjunction with U.S. Postal Service, will sponsor the 21st annual “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive Saturday, May 11. On this day, customers are asked to place non-perishable food in bags and leave them by their mailboxes. Mail carriers will collect the donations while running their routes.
The event, held annually on the second Saturday in May, is the largest single-day food drive in the nation. Since its inception in 1992, it has collected 1.2 billion pounds of food donations that are distributed to food banks throughout the United States. Last year, 70.7 million pounds were collected, feeding an estimated 30 million people.
Examples of non-perishable foods that can be donated are canned items such as soups, meat, fish, vegetables, fruits and juices, and boxed items such as cereal, pasta and rice. NACL asks that items that are expired or in glass containers not be donated to the drive.
According to NACL, one in six Americans live below the poverty level and face hunger. About 17 million children face hunger, the effects of which can be seen in their overall health and ability to perform in school. As many as three million senior citizens over age 65 deal with hunger due to fixed incomes and being embarrassed to ask for help.
NACL points out the timing of its food drive is “pivotal” in that food banks and pantries often find their supplies depleted when spring arrives because most of their donations are received during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.