UNION COUNTY — Some Union County residents have already contributed to the National Association of Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive and more will have the opportunity to do so this Saturday and next week.
Since 1992, the NALC has conducted its annual food drive to combat hunger on the second Saturday in May in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam. The NALC has collected a total of 1.2 billion pounds of food over the past 20 years including 70.7 million pounds collected in 2012.
The food drive is held in May because this is the time of year when those who need food assistance increasingly find the organizations that provide that assistance unable to do so. In a press release announcing this year’s Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, the NALC stated that hunger is a growing problem in America, affecting approximately 50 million people including 17 million children and nine million senior citizens. The statement also pointed out that many food pantries which are filled during the holidays are bare by late spring. It further pointed out that most school meal programs will be suspended for the summer, forcing millions of children to find alternative sources of food.
This year’s food drive will be held on Saturday and the nation’s 175,000 letter carriers will collect the donations of food the public leaves by their mailboxes while delivering the mail. The donated food will be collected at area post offices and then distributed to local food pantries and other organizations involved in providing food to the needy.
While the food drive is scheduled for Saturday, Phillip Hughey, a letter carrier with the Union Post Office, said Thursday that donations are already coming in. He added that persons who don’t get their mail delivered to their homes but still want to donate can bring their donations to the post office.
“We’ve already had some people start giving and we’ve got a good bit already,” Hughey said. “There will be a receptacle here in the lobby for people without mailboxes or who just want to drop it off early.”
On Tuesday, letter carriers included bags for donations in with the mail they delivered. Hughey said residents can use the bags for donations, but even if they place them in another bag or a box their letter carriers will collect them as long as they are placed at the mailboxes on Saturday.
If, however, a person is not able to place their donation by their mailbox on Saturday, Hughey said carriers will still be collecting donations next week.
Hughey said donations should be of non-perishable food items in cans and boxes such as beans, soup, grits, noodles, macaroni and cheese, and cereal. Other non-perishable items that can be donated include canned meats and fish; canned vegetables, fruits, and juices; and pasta and rice.