On Saturday, May 10, letter carriers across Rhode Island and the nation will be working extra hard to make sure the people in the communities they serve have enough to eat. This day marks the 22nd annual “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive, coordinated by the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC).
“We ask our postal patrons to place a bag of healthy, non-perishable food near their mailbox early on the morning of Saturday, May 10,” says Rhode Island food drive coordinator and veteran letter carrier Steve Lepre. “We’ll do the rest. With the help of volunteers, all of the food will be delivered to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank and local food pantries to help families in need.
Most-needed items include canned soup, canned vegetables, tuna, peanut butter, pasta, rice, canned beans and healthy cereals. Items should be placed in a sturdy bag near the mailbox by 8 am on Saturday, May 10.
“This food drive is a tremendous opportunity to play a part in feeding our most vulnerable citizens,” said Andrew Schiff, Chief Executive Officer of the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. “It’s one of only two state-wide food drives during the year, and we really need everyone’s support. I urge people to circle it on their calendar and put their food out early.”
Last year, the drive brought in close to 100,000 pounds of food for Rhode Islanders. The previous year, the drive collected 117,000 pounds of food. “We would like to see those numbers go up this year — not down,” said Lepre. “That can only happen if people remember to put the food out. Perhaps they can include an extra can or box of healthy food to help someone in need. Every can and every box makes a difference.”
The Rhode Island Community Food Bank currently serves more than 68,000 people per month through its statewide network of food pantries. One in three served is a child under the age of 18. The food collected during the drive will be hand-sorted by volunteers, who check for use-by dates and damage to packaging.
“Too many people in this country are still going hungry every day,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said. “As letter carriers, we see this first-hand in just about every community we serve. But we aren’t the type of folks who simply move on to the next delivery and hope someone else will do something about it. Instead, for more than two decades now, our members have taken the lead in the effort to help solve this ongoing national problem.”
Last year, letter carriers across the country collected more than 74.4 million pounds of non-perishable food–the second-highest amount since the drive began in 1992, bringing the grand total to just under 1.3 billion pounds.
National partners supporting the Stamp Out Hunger food drive include the United States Postal Service, Feeding America (the national network of food banks), AARP, Campbell Soup Company, the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, Valpak Direct Marketing Systems, Valissis Communications, United Way Worldwide, AFL-CIO, Uncle Bob’s Self-Storage and the Publix grocery store chain.
If you would like to promote the drive at your school, business or organization, please contact Cindy Elder at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Rhode Island Community Food Bank is a non-profit organization located in Providence, RI. The Food Bank solicits, stores and distributes food products donated by supermarkets, wholesalers, food processors, local farmers and community food drives. The food is then distributed to the Food Bank’s statewide network of 178 member agency programs at 223 sites. In the past fiscal year, the Food Bank distributed 9.9 million pounds of food. For more information about the Food Bank, please visit www.rifoodbank.org.
Photo Credit (Rhode Island Food Bank): Letter carriers across Rhode Island will help “Stamp Out Hunger” on Saturday, May 10, when they pick up food donations from their postal patrons and deliver it to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. Veteran letter carriers (l-r) Don Gaulin (Woonsocket), Steve Lepre (Cranston) and Scott Desjarlais (Providence) are among those planning the National Association of Letter Carriers’ food drive, the largest single-day food drive in the nation.