The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) will conduct its 21st Annual Food Drive to Combat Hunger on this Saturday, May 11. Letter carriers will collect non-perishable food donations on that day as they deliver mail along their postal routes.
It is the nation’s largest single-day food drive, and is held annually on the second Saturday in May in 10,000 cities and towns in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam.
Last year, letter carriers collected 70.7 million pounds of food donations along their postal routes, bringing the total to 1.2 billion pounds for the NALC’s food drive, which began in 1992. Assisting 1,400 local NALC branches will be rural letter carriers and other postal employees, plus members of other unions and civic volunteers.
Locally, food collected by the rural carriers and at local post offices will be donated to the Gays Mills Area Food Pantry. Last year, rural carriers and the Soldiers Grove and Gays Mills post offices amassed almost a ton of food (1,931 pounds) for the pantry.
How important is this food drive for those in need locally?
“For the Gays Mills Area Food Pantry this is very important,” said pantry manager Sue Fry. “We have a good boost around Christmas time and then it dwindles. So, this is a nice boost for the summer.”
Gays Mills Postmaster Diane Roy emphasized that the post offices will be accepting donations during the week leading up to food drive as well as on Saturday. At the Gays Mills Post Office on Orin Street there will be a large box in the lobby available to receive donations all day.
Other local post offices are also taking donations.
“If people get their donations to any post office, we’ll make sure it gets to the food pantry,” Roy said.
For those who are unable to physically donate nonperishable food products this Saturday, but wish to make a donation, Gays Mills Area Food Pantry Manager Sue Fry can be reached at 608-485-0541. Anyone wishing to make a monetary donation can send it to Gays Mills Area Food Pantry PO Box 111 Gays Mills, WI 54631.
The Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive never has been more important than in these times, with hunger a growing problem – affecting about 50 million people around the country, including 17 million children and nine million senior citizens. Pantry shelves filled up through winter-holiday generosity often are bare by late spring. And, with most school meal programs suspended during summer months, millions of children must find alternate sources of nutrition.
On Saturday, May 11, letter carriers will collect the donations residents leave near their mail boxes, as they deliver mail. People are encouraged to leave a sturdy bag containing non-perishable foods, such as canned soup, canned vegetables, canned meats and fish, pasta, 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, assisted by volunteers from other local unions.
National partners in this effort include are Campbell Soup Co, AARP, Valpak Direct Marketing Systems, Valassis/Red Plum, the U.S. Postal Service, United Way Worldwide, the AFL-CIO, Uncle Bob's Self Storage. GLS Companies, Source Direct Plastics and the Publix grocery store chain.
“The NALC is truly grateful for the help we get each year, to reach so many neighborhoods all on one day,” NALC National President Fredric Rolando said.
People who have questions about the drive should ask their letter carrier or go to www.helpstampouthunger.com, www.facebook.com/StampOutHunger, or www.twitter.com/StampOutHunger.