Friday, May 6, 2016

Letter Carrier Food Drive is May 14

Help “Stamp Out Hunger.”

The 24th annual National Association of Letter Carriers’ “Stamp Out Hunger” Food Drive is Saturday, May 14.

The top requested non-perishable food items are: cereal, pasta, pasta sauce or spaghetti sauce, rice, canned fruits and vegetables, canned meals (such as soups, chili and pasta), 100% juice, peanut butter, macaroni & cheese, canned protein (tuna, chicken and turkey), beans (canned or dry).

Just leave your non-perishable donations at your mailbox prior to your regular delivery. Carriers (city or rural) will pick up your canned goods for distribution to a food bank/pantry, and then to individuals who are in need in your community.

Starr Hunter, NALC Branch 1690 Food Drive Coordinator/Letter Carrier, Palms Central Carrier Annex (left) is making her appointed rounds to promote the Food Drive on Saturday, May 14. Also pictured are WRFM Radio Vice President, Community Relations Sari Vatske (center) and Host Tracy St. George (right). Photo: West Palm Beach Customer Relations Coordinator Curlita Rogers-Saunders. 

The NALC National Food Drive is the outgrowth of a tradition of community service exhibited repeatedly by members of the letter carriers union over the years. These carriers, who go into neighborhoods in every town six days a week, have always been involved when something needed to be done, whether it be collecting funds for a charity like the Muscular Dystrophy Association, watching over the elderly through the Carrier Alert program, assisting the American Red Cross during time of disaster, or rescuing victims of fires, crime, and other mishaps.

For many years, a number of branches had collected food for the needy as part of their community service effort. Discussions were held by the NALC, U.S. Postal Service and AFL-CIO Community Services Department to explore a coordinated effort. A pilot drive was held in 10 cities in October, 1991, and it proved so successful that work began immediately on making it a nationwide effort.

Input from food banks and pantries suggested that late spring would be the best time since by then most food banks in the country start running out of donations received during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday periods.

A revamped drive was organized for May 15, 1993—the second Saturday in May—with a goal of having at least one NALC branch in each of the 50 states participating. The result was astounding. More than 11 million pounds of food was collected—a one-day record in the United States—involving more than 220 union branches.

From Alaska to Florida and Maine to Hawaii, letter carriers did double duty—delivering mail and picking up donations. It just grew and grew from that point.

In 2010, the food drive surpassed the 1 billion pound park in total food collected over its history.