Since 1993, the annual NALC Food Drive to “Stamp Out Hunger” has been held the second Saturday in May — this year May 9 — in more than 10,000 cities and towns in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
The annual food drive — the largest one-day food drive in the nation — began in October 1991 as a pilot food drive in 10 cities. The project proved so successful that work began immediately to make it a nationwide effort.
Since its beginnings, nearly one billion pounds of food has been collected and delivered to food banks by letter carriers and other volunteers.
And this year the need is even greater.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s annual study of hunger in America indicates the number of people living at the margins of hunger, struggling to make ends meet and put food on the table, has increased from 35.1 million to more than 35.5 million people including 12 million children.
As more families count on food banks, pantries and shelters for support, the organizations are depending more on the community for help.
The success is in its simplicity
All you have to do is place a box, can or bag full of non-perishable food next to your mailbox before your letter carrier, and in some areas rural carrier, delivers mail on Saturday, May 9. The carrier will do all the rest.
The food is taken back to a postal station, sorted, and then delivered to an area food bank or pantry. There it’s made available for needy families.
Some Post Offices also have collection points in their lobbies.
In New York City and Chicago, where transportation limitations preclude mailbox pickup, citizens are being asked to take donations to their local Post Offices between May 4 and 9.
Campbell Soup Company and the U.S. Postal Service are major supporters again this year, co-sponsoring the printing of 125 million postcards encouraging the general public to participate in the drive. Campbell Soup also earmarked an additional 1 million pound canned food donation to the drive.
Other sponsors and supporters: Cox Target Media and its Valpak Direct Marketing Systems, the National Rural Letter Carriers Association, Feeding America, the United Way of America, the AFL-CIO Community Services network and countless local sponsors.
How you can help more
Now is the time to check out the best sales in your local supermarket, match them with coupons and rebates, and stock up for the food drive.
Your shopping trip won’t be totally about what you need or what your family likes, it’ll also be about what others less fortunate in your community can use.
Staples such as breakfast cereal, pasta, spaghetti sauce, peanut butter, and canned fruits and vegetables are often on sale.
If you don’t have the time to match up sales with coupons, enlist the help of your children. Nearly every Sunday newspaper includes a book or two of coupons, plus you can search for and print out coupons on the Internet.
You can make you donation dollars stretch and provide much needed aid to members of your own community by purchasing sale items paired with coupons.
For more information check the website stampouthunger.com.