The food drive provides assistance to individuals and families struggling to put food on the table, according to local coordinator Mike Williams.
“Each year, residents have an opportunity, with the help of their letter carrier, to easily donate food to needy families in the community,” he said.
The 2011 devastating storms and the economic situation have caused food banks to stretch to their limits. They are in need of replenishing and the nonperishable goods collected Saturday will be used to fill community food shelves.
The goal this year is to collect from 30,000 to 40,000 pounds of nonperishable food items for the food banks of the community, Williams said.
Statistics show that 16 percent of Americans are at risk from hunger with no certainity of a meal. This includes 1 in 5 children under the age of 18, and 4 million seniors.
A survey by Feeding America, a domestic hunger-relief organization and campaign partner, noted close to half — 46 percent — of families served reported having to choose between paying a utility bill and buying food.
Williams said it is easy for residents to participate. Leave a bag of nonperishable food where the letter carrier normally delivers the mail on Saturday.
The letter carriers will pick up and deliver the food to the main post office, where it will be distributed to local food banks.
Examples of nonperishable items include canned soup, canned meats and fish, canned vegetables, fruits and juices, boxed goods like cereal, pasta and rice. Food for needy families’ pets may also be donated.
Initiated by the National Association of Letter Carriers, “Stamp Out Hunger” is in its 20th year. The national association is partnering this year with Campbell’s Soup Co., Valpak, the U.S. Postal Service, United Way, AFL-CIO, Feeding America, Uncle Bob’s Self-Storage, and AARP.
“Last year, despite many obstacles, letter carriers proudly collected 70.2 million pounds of food” across the U.S., according to NALC President Fredric Rolando.
Celebrity spokesman is singer and “America’s Got Talent” host Nick Cannon. The “Family Circus” artwork used to help promote the food drive is “dedicated to the memory of longtime supporter and ‘Family Circus’ cartoonist Bil Keane, who died in November.
The Stamp Out Hunger food drive is held the second Saturday of May.