The annual National Association of Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger National Food Drive, a nationwide initiative in which mail carriers collect donated food items at mailboxes, is scheduled for May 13.
This year marks the 25th year of the program, and collectively more than 1.5 billion pounds of food were donated nationwide since the inaugural event in 1993.
Last year, a record 80 million pounds of food were donated. Letter carriers hope to top that number this year, and they urge local residents to help.
To participate, residents may simply place nonperishable food items in or beside their mailbox before their mail carrier arrives on May 13. Letter carriers will pick up the donated items when they make their regular deliveries in the area.
“Too many people in this country are going hungry,” said National Association of Letter Carriers President Fredric Rolando. “We know this to be true because we see it as we deliver to every address in America at least six days a week.”
According to the National Association of Letter Carriers, the most-requested nonperishable food items are cereal, pasta, pasta sauce or spaghetti sauce, rice, canned fruits and vegetables, canned meals such as soups, chili and pasta, 100-percent fruit juice, peanut butter, macaroni and cheese, canned protein such as tuna, chicken and turkey and beans, canned or dry. Healthy, low-sodium, low-sugar items such as oatmeal, other whole grains and canola or olive oil will also be accepted.
Frozen food, homemade food or home-canned food items should not be donated. Items that have expired or are in glass containers are not accepted.
When donating several items at once, the items should be placed in a bag near the mailbox. There is no specific type of bag that should be used; a common paper or plastic grocery bag is accepted.
Donated items in Wilson County will stay local, according to retired Lebanon letter carrier Millie Heston. All items collected by rural and city letter carriers will be given to the Wilson County Community Help Center.
“Take five minutes to choose items from your pantry to place in or beside your mailbox to help those in your community,” Heston said.
For more information about the food drive, visit nalc.org/community-service/food-drive.