On Saturday May 9, the National Association of Letter Carriers will conduct its 17th annual “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive across the nation.
In the Houston area, close to 3,800 letter carriers of the NALC local chapter will collect donations to be donated to the Houston Food Bank and partner food pantries.
Patricia Claiborne, spokesperson for the Houston chapter of the NALC said it is easy for area residents to help out.
“Houston-area letter carriers want to do what we can to help out our neighbors in need. This is a successful drive because of its simplicity. All that people need to do is place a box or bag of nonperishable food next to their mailboxes before their letter carrier delivers mail on Saturday, May 9,” Claiborne said. “Your mail carrier will pick up the food and take it to their postal station. It will then be transported to the Houston Food Bank, where it is distributed to area hunger relief charities.”
Last year the NALC food drive collected approximately 400,000 pounds of food in greater Houston for the 400 hunger-relief programs the food bank serves. Nationally, the letter carriers collected 73.1 million pounds.
This year, the local NALC chapter is setting a goal of 500,000 pounds of food collected, and they are asking for the public’s help.
Area letter carriers are requesting that residents donate nonperishable foods such as canned meat, tuna, peanut butter, soup, canned fruits and vegetables, pasta, rice and beans and other essential items.
The U.S. Postal Service and Campbell Soup Company are underwriting the printing and distribution of postcards and direct mail pieces for delivery to postal customers throughout the country, asking them to participate in the food drive.
Area Kroger stores will display posters informing shoppers of the food drive and encouraging their participation.
Donations may also be made through the Houston Food Bank’s Red Barrel Program in area grocery stores. Shoppers can purchase nonperishable items and place them in the designated red barrels, which will be picked up by hunger relief agencies in that store’s neighborhood.
All food placed in the red barrels from April 22 through May 9 will be recorded as NALC poundage.
In addition to collecting from every residence in the area, the local chapter of the NALC has invited students at area elementary schools to participate. Letter carriers will collect donations at schools by Friday, May 8.
Brian Greene, president and chief executive officer of the Houston Food Bank, said donations are needed now more than ever because of so many people have been impacted by the weak economy.
“The timing of this food drive makes it one of our most important efforts, especially given economic conditions. Many of our food pantry partners are seeing people coming for help who have never needed food assistance before,” Greene said. “In addition, during the summer children do not have access to school lunches.”
The NALC food drive is the largest one-day food drive in the nation, including over 10,000 cities and towns throughout all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam.