UNION COUNTY — Saturday is the 22nd annual National Association of Letter Carriers’ “Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive” but letter carriers with the Union Post Office are already collecting bags of donated food.
On the second Saturday of May for the past 22 years, letter carriers across the nation collect food donations from the customers of the U.S. Postal Service. The food collection is supported by The National Association Of Letter Carriers and The National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association. Sponsors also include Campell’s, AARP, Publix, AFL-CIO, and The United Way.
In 2013, the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive collected more than 74 million pounds of food nationally which was used to feed an estimated 30 million people. Over the course of its history, Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive has collected over one billion pounds of food through the U.S. Postal Service’s universal delivery system that spans America, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
That delivery system includes the post offices of Union County whose letter carriers will be collecting donated food items on Saturday.
“We’ve got several thousand pounds in the past,” Phillip Hughey, a City Carrier for the Union Post Office said Wednesday. “All the food that we collect stays locally.”
Hughey said letter carriers are already distributing the bags customers will use to place their donations in for pick-up on Saturday.
Some customers, however, are not waiting for Saturday.
“We started distributing the delivery bags yesterday and we’re distributing them today,” Hughey said. “We’re already picking up some food from people who are already making their donations. If you want to make a donation, either on Saturday or before then, just leave them in the bag out by your mail box and we’ll pick them up.”
In addition to the bags, Hughey there will be hamper at the Union Post Office people can place their donations in.
“We’re putting a hamper in the lobby with a poster designating it for the food drive,” Hughey said. “We’ll empty it every day when we close.”
Hughey said persons wanting to support the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive should donate non-perishable food items such as boxed and canned goods. Perishable food items and items in glass jars should not be donated.
Currently, 49 million Americans — 1 in 6 — are unsure where their meal is coming from. This includes 16 million children whose health and ability to perform in school are impacted by hunger. It also includes nearly 5 million seniors over the age of 60 who are “food insecure” because they live on fixed incomes and are often too embarrassed to ask for help.
The Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is held in spring because of the need of local food banks and pantries whose supplies — most of which they received during the Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday season — are now depleted. They are running low on food as summer approaches when many school breakfast and lunch programs are not available to children in need.