About one in six Americans goes hungry or wonders where the next meal will come from. That’s a reality of life in the United States today. But another fact of life in this country is that people and organizations get together to tackle such problems and to help their fellow Americans.
To combat hunger, the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) will conduct its 22nd annual food drive on Saturday, May 10. Using the unparalleled postal networks, letter carriers will collect non-perishable food donations on that day as they deliver mail along their postal routes.
It is the nation’s largest single-day food drive, and is held annually on the second Saturday in May in 10,000 cities and towns in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam.
Last year, letter carriers collected 74.4 million pounds of food donations along their postal routes, the second-highest amount since the NALC’s food drive began in 1992. That brought the total to nearly 1.3 billion pounds for the food drive.
As they deliver mail, the nation’s 175,000 letter carriers will collect the donations that residents leave near their mail boxes. People are encouraged to leave a sturdy bag containing non-perishable foods, such as canned soup, canned vegetables, canned meats and fish, pasta, peanut butter, rice or cereal, next to their mailbox before the regular mail delivery on Saturday.
Carriers will bring the food to local food banks, pantries or shelters, including many affiliated with Feeding America, which is a national partner in the drive, as are United Way, AARP Drive to End Hunger, Publix, Campbell Soup Co., the U.S. Postal Service, National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, the AFL CIO, Valpak, Valassis and Uncle Bob’s Self Storage.
When do I put out the food?
On the second Saturday of May, just set out your food well before your letter carrier’s normal pick-up time. Note that he or she will be delivering and collecting mail as usual, on top of collecting food donations, so that pickup time could be slightly later than usual.
Do I need to use a special bag?
No! No special bags are needed. Paper is sturdy and tends to hold more food, while plastic holds up better if it gets wet (in the rain, etc.). Cloth bags or boxes are also fine. So it’s your choice. And most bags and boxes can be easily recycled. We’ll take anything you leave out!