The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) will conduct its annual national food drive on Saturday, May 13. NALC’s Stamp Out Hunger® Food Drive, which was first held in 1983 and now helps feed millions of Americans, is the country’s largest one-day food drive.
The key to its success: making it easy for people to donate food to those in need.
Postal customers simply leave their donation of non-perishable food items next to their mailbox before the delivery of the mail on Saturday, May 13. Letter carriers will collect these food donations on that day as they deliver mail along their postal routes, and distribute them to local food banks, pantries, shelters and churches.
The Letter Carriers’ food drive is held annually on the second Saturday in May in 10,000 cities and towns in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam. Hunger affects 1 in 8 Americans, including millions of children, senior citizens and veterans.
In the 30 years since it began, the food drive has collected about 1.82 billion pounds of food for struggling residents.
The need is as great as ever, given the past three years’ pandemic-caused economic dislocations and inflation. The traditional food drive returned last year after a two-year hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic. In 2020 and 2021, it was replaced by NALC’s donor drive, in which those wishing to help made online donations to local food pantries.
The timing is important, with food banks, pantries and shelters running low on donations from the winter holidays and with summer approaching, when most school meal programs are suspended.
On May 13, as they deliver mail, the nation’s 200,000 letter carriers will collect the donations that residents have left near their mailboxes. People are encouraged to leave a sturdy bag containing non-perishable foods, such as canned soup, canned vegetables, canned meats and fish, pasta, rice or cereal next to their mailbox before the regular mail delivery on Saturday. The food donations stay in each community, going to help local residents.