Since 1993 the NALC has collected more than one billion pounds of food through its annual nationwide event, "Stamp Out Hunger" – America’s largest single-day food drive.
This Saturday, more than 1,500 NALC branches from every state, involving more than 10,000 cities and towns, will have more than 230,000 letter carriers collect non-perishable goods from people’s mailboxes. Here in Wilmette, Mark Havel, president of the NALC's 1077 branch, said all 44 carriers on staff will be collecting food and dropping off the items at the .
"We get all kinds of stuff: some cans of oysters, soup, noodles, some cooking wine and some regular wine," Havel said.
Last year, Wilmette residents contributed roughly 4,000 pounds of food to the 77.1 million collected nationwide, according to Havel. “Some people think it’s nicer to not put the food out so the mailman doesn't have to carry it.” he said, "But we’re ready, willing and able to take all the food that people put out there."
"You never know what you're going to get," said Barbara Sledge, who's been the food drive coordinator at the Wilmette Post Office for 15 years, "One year a lady gave me money to go to Jewel to purchase canned goods."
Across the country, many have banded together to advertise for the day’s collection, including Publix food stores, which will again provide more than eight million plastic bags for delivery to customers throughout Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Campbell’s, a long supporter of the drive, will donate one pound of food (up to one million pounds) to Feeding America for every person who joins the Stamp Out Hunger Facebook community. Additionally, you can join Stamp Out Hunger on Twitter to follow the national collection online as food is gathered this Saturday.
Residents can leave non-perishable food in bags next to mailboxes if donations exceed the mailbox size. Because the drive has gotten so big, Anderson said he’ll take a spin around town to collect food in his pick-up truck if the letter carriers can't fit all the donations in their mail trucks.
According to the NALC, the need for donations is greater than ever. The organization stated, “According to the Agriculture Department's most recent study of food security in the United States in 2009, the number of Americans living in so-called 'food insecure' homes topped 50 million. Of those, 17.2 million are children.”
Last year, Tampa, Florida NALC Branch 599 collected 2,062,529 pounds to emerge as the top local union branch in the country. This year, to promote some friendly local competition and to help with the effort, Patch is putting a little twist on the Stamp Out Hunger collection. We will donate two grocery bags of non-perishables to the town in New Haven County that gives the most pounds of food (totals will be adjusted for population). So get to filling those bags with food and help end hunger!