Saturday marks the 22nd anniversary of the National Association of Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food drive, when letter carriers across the country collect non-perishable food donations from their customers.
According to Turlock Post Carriers, the donations go directly to local food pantries to provide food to Turlockers in need of help.
“Letter carriers walk through the community every day, often coming face to face with a sad reality for too many, hunger,” said the Turlock Post Carriers in a release to their customers. “Last year, we collected over 74 million pounds of food Nationally, feeding an estimated 30 million people.”
Also according to the carriers, the Turlock Post Office Carriers collected over 10,000 lbs last year for the drive. Their goal is to surpass last year’s total by at least 5,000 lbs. Over the course of its 21-year history, the drive has collected well over one billion pounds of food, thanks to a postal service universal delivery network that spans the entire nation, including Puerto Rico, Guam and U.S. Virgin Islands.
Although hunger may not be a visibly pressing cause within the community, according to the Turlock branch, the need for food donations is great. They explained that currently, 49 million Americans – 1 in 6 – are unsure where their next meal is coming from, 16 million are children who feel hunger’s impact on their overall health and ability to perform in school and nearly five million seniors over age 60 are food insecure, with many who live on fixed incomes and may be too embarrassed to ask for help.
Because food banks and pantries often receive the majority of their donations during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons and many drives are run during that time, by springtime, many pantries are depleted.This is why the Turlock Post Office sees their drive as crucial, as many of the pantries are entering the summer low on supplies at a time when many school breakfast and lunch programs are not available to children who are on school break and in need.
To participate in this year’s Letter Carrier Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, leave a non-perishable food donation in a bag by your mailbox on Saturday, May 10, and your letter carrier will do the rest. The event occurs on the second Saturday in May each year.