The National Association of Letter Carriers will hold their 25th Annual Stamp Out Hunger® Food Drive on Saturday, May 13. It is the nation’s largest one day food drive and helps fill food shelves in the 10,000 U.S. cities and towns where food is collected.

In the Twin Ports, on the Iron Range, and up the North Shore, Letter Carriers and volunteers are ramping up for the effort that brought in 164,000 pounds of food last year. That volume of food desperately needs volunteers to help the Letter Carriers on their routes that day. People with pickup trucks are really in high demand to bring the collected food to the main post offices and other collection sites so Letter Carriers can continue on their routes. Trucks fill up fast.

Scott Van Daele of CHUM’s East Food Shelf coordinates volunteers. If you can help contact him at 727- 2391.

“Right here, in the Northland, the need has never been greater,” says Van Daele. “Since 2008, food shelf use has increased 70 percent. Among those receiving food assistance, 30 percent are children.”
Local food shelves see 8,223 individuals and distribute 109,017 pounds of food on average every month. Van Daele asked postal patrons to fill one or more bags with non-perishable, nonexpired food and place the bags by their mail boxes by 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 13.
There are food drop off sites for donations as well at Super 1 supermarkets, the Hermantown Federal Credit Union and other sites. HFCU is collecting nonperishable food items at all three branches before Friday, May 12.

Volunteers in Duluth are fed all day at Bernie’s BBQ in back of the Main Post Office (29th Ave. W. below Michigan St.) thanks to the SiebenCarey law firm and more volunteers coordinated by Rachel Loeffler-Kemp and the Community Services Program.
Nationally last year the largest amount ever was collected at over 80 million pounds, worth over $175 million. The total amount of donations picked up over the 25- year history of the food drive is more than 1.5 billion pounds.
“Too many people in this country are going hungry,”NALC President Fredric Rolando said. “We know this to be true because we see it as we deliver to every address in America at least six days a week.”

Sadly, statistics back thatup. Nearly 49 millionAmericans—1 in 6—are unsure where their next meal is coming from. This includes 13 million children as well as about 5 million seniors over age 60—many of whom live on fixed incomes and often are too embarrassed to ask for help. Many children depend on meals at school during the school year but that ends when they’re off for the summer. The NALC Food Drive fills a huge gap as food shelves get hit hard.

Since 1993, when the national food drive began, lettercarriers in every part of the country have worked with family members, friends, other postal co-workers and allies to use the second Saturday in May as a day to give something back to the communities that know and trust them.

“Letter carriers lead this massive collection effort,” President Rolando said, “but we couldn’t make the food drive a reality without the help of our national partners.” This year’s partners are the U.S. Postal Service, the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, Valpak, United Way Worldwide, the AFL-CIO, the AARP Foundation and Valassis.

You can keep in touch with the food drive on “like”, and on Twitter, follow @StampOutHunger.