The Stamp Out Hunger® Food Drive, which took place on Saturday, May 11, collected 75.7 million pounds of food—third-highest total in the drive’s 27 years.
San Juan, Puerto Rico Branch 869 collected about 2.3 million pounds of food, leading all branches nationwide in the amount of food collected. The food donations stay in each community, going to help local residents.
The Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is the country’s largest single-day food drive, relying on the generosity of residents, who leave donations of non-perishable food items next to their mailbox before the delivery of the mail on the day of the food drive. Letter carriers 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. It remains as important as ever, with many people facing economic struggles. Hunger affects tens of millions of people around the country, including millions of children, senior citizens and veterans.
Letter carriers see these struggles in the communities they serve, and believe that it is important to do what they can to help.
“This is a labor of love for letter carriers, and we are proud to see how it has grown in impact over the years,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said. “It’s an honor to be able to help people in need all across the country—and to do so in a way that brings out the best in so many Americans.”
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.
This year’s figure brings the total collected since NALC’s food drive began in 1993 to about 1.75 billion pounds. (Note: The national total of 76.1 million listed in the July issue of The Postal Record counted one branch’s collection twice. That fix along with some other branches’ reports bring the 2019 total to 75.7 million.)
Several national partners assisted NALC in the recent drive: the U.S. Postal Service, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, United Way Worldwide, the AFL-CIO, Valpak and Valassis. We are also very pleased to have had the participation of two new national partners this year: the Kellogg Co. and CVS Health.
This year’s effort included a public service announcement with actor and director Edward James Olmos.