The second Saturday in May has special significance to members of the National Association of Letter Carriers. For 21 years, it’s been the day when they teamed up with their postal patrons to “Stamp Out Hunger” in the nation’s largest single-day food drive. This year’s food drive takes place Saturday, May 11, across Rhode Island and throughout the United States.
Postal patrons are asked to leave a donation of healthy, non-perishable food in a bag near their mailbox early in the morning on May 11, as food pick-ups may not coincide with normal mail delivery times. Most-needed items include canned soup, canned vegetables, tuna, peanut butter, pasta, rice, canned beans, and healthy cereals.
Stamp Out Hunger is a cooperative effort of the U.S. Postal Service and the National Association of Letter Carriers. Last year, the drive produced 117,000 pounds of food for Rhode Islanders in need, an increase of almost 10% over the previous year. Nationally, letter carriers collected 70.7 million pounds of food in 2012. Stamp Out Hunger has collected 1.2 billion pounds of food since the drive began in 1992.
All of the food collected in the Ocean State will be donated to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank and its member agencies. The donations will help to feed more than 66,000 people who depend on the Food Bank’s statewide network of food pantries and meal sites. A third of the people served by the Food Bank’s agencies are children under the age of 18.
“This food drive gives everyone an opportunity to participate in the important work of feeding our people at a time when many are still struggling to put food on the table,” says Andrew Schiff, Chief Executive Officer of the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. “Our local letter carriers volunteer their time and effort to make this happen, but it can only be a success if residents remember to put out their donations on May 11.”
National partners supporting the Stamp Out Hunger food drive include Feeding America (the national network of food banks), AARP, Campbell Soup Company, the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, Valpak Direct Marketing Systems, Valissis/Red Plum, United Way Worldwide, AFL-CIO, Uncle Bob’s Self-Storage, GLS Companies, Source Direct Plastics and the Publix grocery store chain.