May 12 will mark an important milestone for the NALC’s Stamp Out Hunger national food drive.
“It’s our 20th anniversary,” NALC President Fredric Rolando noted. “For two decades now, our annual national drive has proved critical in helping millions of American families—our customers—who are struggling to make ends meet during this continuing recession.
“Each year, the second Saturday in May is a day when all citizens have an opportunity, with the help of their letter carrier, to easily donate food to needy families in their community,” he said.
The drive, the largest one-day food-collection event in the nation, has been a success every year, Rolando said, but the needs are particularly sad, even staggering, in 2012.
“Sixteen percent of all Americans are at risk of hunger—uncertain where their next meal may be coming from. That includes 1 in 5 children under the age of 18, plus 4 million seniors who are forced
every day to choose between paying a utility bill and buying food,” he said.
“Last year, despite many obstacles, letter carriers proudly collected 70.2 million pounds of food, raising the total amount of donations picked up over the history of the drive to more than 1.1 billion pounds,” Rolando said. “With help from our brothers and sisters in the rural craft, alongside other postal employees and volunteers, letter carriers will do what we can again this year to help all Americans.”
Providing branches and volunteers a much-appreciated boost are the drive’s official sponsors: the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, Campbell Soup Company, Valpak, U.S. Postal Service, United Way, AFL-CIO, Feeding America, Uncle Bob’s Self-Storage and AARP.
“We are proud to continue our support of the annual food drive,” NRLCA President Jeannette Dwyer said. “It has become clear how such a small act of charity on the part of one person can resonate so profoundly in the communities in which we live.”
Realizing that reminder postcards are key components in drumming up customer participation in the food drive, Campbell’s is donating 75 million postcards to help the cause.
“The employees of Campbell Soup Company share your passion for ensuring the health and welfare of individuals in every community,” Campbell’s President Denise Morrison said. “As we approach May 12, we pledge to work to ensure that every community rallies support for the NALC food drive.”
Another proven method of motivating customers to donate non-perishable food—including pet food—has been to provide them with special “Stamp Out Hunger” grocery bags. Campbell’s has pledged a donation of 1 million such bags to be distributed in select locations. International Paper is providing bags in certain areas, while Publix, the grocery store chain with more than 1,000 locations in the Southeast, is donating bags in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.
Back again as the drive’s celebrity spokesperson is singer and “America’s Got Talent” host Nick Cannon, and this year’s special “Family Circus” artwork (click here) is dedicated to the memory of longtime supporter and “Family Circus” cartoonist Bil Keane, who died in November.
Beyond the Call of Duty…
The Stamp Out Hunger food drive is a nationwide effort that provides food to local food banks and pantries that would otherwise be faced with depleted stocks during the summer months. Food banks across the country continue to experience record demand for emergency food assistance.
The nation’s 210,000 letter carriers will collect food donations left at the mailboxes of generous Americans in more than 10,000 communities and deliver them to food banks and other hunger relief organizations.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the Stamp Out Hunger food drive is the nation’s largest single-day food drive, having collected more than one billion pounds of food since its inception in 1993. In 2011, generous Americans donated 70.2 million pounds of food, which marked the eighth consecutive year that at least 70 million pounds were collected.
Campbell Soup Company will kick off this year’s food drive with a pledge to donate one million pounds of food to Feeding America.
The Face of Hunger…
Despite the generosity of millions of Americans who have supported the letter carriers’ food drive in previous years, the need for food assistance has never been greater. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s annual study measuring food security in the United States, the number of Americans living in food insecure homes was nearly 49 million in 2011, and one in five of these people was a child (16 million).
A recent survey conducted by Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief organization, found that nearly half (46 percent) of households served reported having to choose between paying a utility bill or purchasing food.
You Can Help…
Helping Stamp Out Hunger is as easy as checking your mailbox. Just leave a bag of non-perishable food where your letter carrier normally delivers your mail on Saturday, May 12. Your letter carrier will then pick up and deliver the food to a local food bank. Examples of non-perishable items include:
o Canned soup
o Canned meats and fish
o Canned vegetables, fruits and juices
o Boxed goods (such as cereal)
o Pasta and rice
For more information about the annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive, ask your letter carrier, contact your local post office or visit either www.helpstampouthunger.com or www.facebook.com/StampOutHunger, and follow the drive at www.twitter.com/StampOutHunger.