restaurants may proudly boast “Over a Billion Served,” but the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) can say the same when it comes to pounds of food collected for the needy.
Since 1993 the NALC has collected more than one billion pounds of food through its annual nationwide event, "Stamp Out Hunger" – America’s largest single-day food drive.
This Saturday, more than 1,500 NALC branches from every state, involving more than 10,000 cities and towns, will have more than 230,000 letter carriers collect non-perishable goods from people’s mailboxes. Here in Fenton, Michael Steiner of the said all carriers on staff will be collecting food for the Eastern Michigan Food Bank.
Steiner said the Fenton area has always been generous in the event.
"We get quite a bit of food," he said. "This area hasn't been hit as hard as others. We preach to our customers that some people aren't as fortunate. All the food stays local and goes to those in need."
Because the drive is organized by the NALC, rural routes, which work under the union of National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, don’t have to participate in collection, but most do.
Across the country, many have banded together to advertise for the day’s collection, including Publix food stores, which will again provide more than 8 million plastic bags for delivery to customers throughout Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Campbell’s, a long supporter of the drive, will donate one pound of food (up to one million pounds) to Feeding America for every person who joins the Stamp Out Hunger Facebook community. Additionally, you can join Stamp Out Hunger on Twitter to follow the national collection online as food is gathered this Saturday.
Steiner said local business provide food for the volunteers who help sort through the donated goods.
Residents can leave non-perishable food in bags next to mailboxes if donations exceed the mailbox size.
According to the NALC, the need for donations is greater than ever. The organization stated, “According to the Agriculture Department's most recent study of food security in the United States in 2009, the number of Americans living in so-called 'food insecure' homes topped 50 million. Of those, 17.2 million are children.”
Last year, Tampa, Florida NALC Branch 599 collected 2,062,529 pounds to emerge as the top local union branch in the country.