As summer is here, local food banks and church shelves normally would be well-stocked, benefiting from the 70 million-plus pounds of food recently received from the Letter Carriers annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, held in May for the 27 years. This is the largest one-day food drive in the world, said the National Association of Letter Carriers.
The food drive’s timing is key because winter holiday donations have dwindled from food pantries and homeless shelters, and school meal programs are not available in the summer. The coronavirus pandemic, however, has forced the postponement of the scheduled May 9 drive for safety reasons – even as the pandemic-related economic shutdown has worsened food insecurity.
To deal with this urgent situation, the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) has developed a new plan to address the problem of hunger that affects one in eight Americans, including millions of children, elderly and military veterans.
After reaching out to regional/state food coordinators, who in turn contacted over 1900 branches in every corner of the country, who then spoke with food banks and pantries in their communities, and identified ones that are willing to take part in the effort.
The result: A novel donor approach to fit the current circumstances. Americans in big cities or suburbs, in small towns and rural areas, can go to a website set up just for this, select a food bank close to them, and donate funds to help the pantry purchase food. This has been set up that allows every dollar raised to go directly to purchasing food for the hungry.
As always, all food procured will be kept and used locally to help residents in need. National partners – the US Postal Service, United Way Worldwide, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), Kellogg Co., National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, CVS Health, Valpak, AFL-CIO and Valassis—will be vital to its success.
The need is great. Tillamook County residents have donated over 214,920 pounds of food and personal items during these past food drives. Nationally, 75.7 million pounds of food were collected in 2019, the third highest total in the drive’s 27 years. Over 1.75 billion pounds have been donated over the last 27 food drives.
For more information, and how to donate to your local food bank, visit https://www.nalc.org/community-service/food-drive/2020-donor-drive