On Saturday May 9 Letter Carriers will be conducting their annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive. The drive is the largest one-day food drive in the nation.
Last year more than 70 million pounds of food were collected, making this the 11th consecutive year that collections went over the 70-million-pound mark. Since the drive began in 1993, nearly 1.4 billion pounds have been collected. Residents are asked to just place non-perishable food by their mailbox for their letter carrier to pick up and deliver to a local food pantry.
Led by letter carriers represented by the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), with help from Rural Letter Carriers (NRLCA), other postal employees and other volunteers, the drive has delivered food to local food banks at a critical time as food pantries often run low on donations in the Spring. This years drive is enthusiastically cosponsored by the AFL CIO, The National Rural Letter Carriers Association and the United Way.
“This is the largest one-day food drive in the country where we collect tens of thousands of pounds of food and deliver it directly to the local food banks, pantries, and shelters,” said Wayne Alterisio, President of the NH State Association of Letter Carriers. “On May 9th, please leave a bag of non-perishable food items near your mailbox so our local hungry will not go without.”
With the extreme weather experienced this winter by much of the country, along with the economic struggles many Americans face, the Letter Carriers’ Food Drive never has been more important.
Hunger affects about 49 million people around the country, including millions of children and senior citizens. And one-in-four households with a member currently serving in the U.S. military turns to the Feeding America network for food assistance.
Pantry shelves filled up through winter-holiday generosity often are bare by late spring. And, with most school meal programs not available during summer months, millions of children must find alternate sources of nutrition.
As they deliver mail, the nation’s 175,000 letter carriers will collect donations left by residents near their mail boxes. People are encouraged to leave a sturdy bag containing non-perishable foods such as canned soup; canned vegetables; canned meats and fish; pasta; peanut butter; rice or cereal next to their mailbox before the regular mail delivery on Saturday.
Carriers will bring the food to local food banks, pantries or shelters, including many affiliated with Feeding America, a national partner in the drive, as are the U.S. Postal Service, United Way Worldwide, the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, the AFL-CIO, Valpak and Valassis.
People who have questions about the drive in their area should ask their letter carrier, contact their local post office, or go to nalc.org/food, facebook.com/StampOutHunger or twitter.com/StampOutHunger.
Letter carriers visit every address in America at least six days a week, so we are acutely aware of how hunger affects the communities we serve. Driven by a desire to do something about this problem, and inspired by the success that a number of branches had experienced with local food drives, in the early 1990s the NALC worked with the Postal Service to come up with a national food-collection campaign.
The nation’s labor unions are in full support of the food drive, says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka: “With the support of unions all across America, the NALC can set a record in collections, helping those who have lost their jobs and the millions more facing economic uncertainty.”
The United Way’s Stacey Stewart expressed her organizations support “The United Way will continue to partner with the NALC Food Drive in 2015. Its our privilege to once again, join with organized labor, an indispensable partner in our broader mission to create real and lasting change in communities throughout the United States.”
NRLCA President Jeanette Dwyer commented on the success and simplicity of the food drive: “It has become clear how such a small act of charity on the part of one person can resonate so profoundly in the communities in which we live.”
Please join us on America’s greatest day of giving.
To donate, just place a box or bag with your cans and non-perishable items next to your mailbox, before your letter carrier delivers mail on May 9th.
The carrier will do the rest.
The food is sorted, and delivered to a local food bank or pantry, where it is available for needy families.
For more information watch this short 7-minute video from the National Association of Letter Carriers that explains it all, and why letter carriers are donating their time to help feed the people in their own communities.
(All of this information can also be found in Spanish in this video translated by NALC members in Puerto Rico Branch 869.)
Bill Brickley is a member of the National Association of Letter Carriers. He also serves on the NH AFL-CIO Executive Board. Former NH Area Coordinator Amnesty International and NH Labor News Blogger. He is a letter carrier in Derry. Follow him on twitter @BillBrickley
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