National Letter Carriers’ Food Drive Returns this Saturday

Postal carriers’ annual mission to “stamp out hunger” in their local communities will continue this Saturday — with a few changes.

A collaborative initiative by the United States Postal Service, National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association and National Association of Letter Carriers, the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is held every year on the second Saturday in May and is the largest single-day food drive in the United States.

This year, local organizers ask that non-perishable food items be brought to the Canby Post Office Lobby on Saturday — rather than the usual practice of leaving bags of items near mailboxes for carriers to collect.

“We’re experiencing a shortage of carriers post-Covid, and that’s why the food is being gathered at the post office lobby,” event chair Irene Breshears told the Current.

Before the pandemic, the annual drive regularly collected more than 10,000 pounds of food locally each year, which was donated to and distributed through the St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank.

This year’s effort will benefit The Canby Center, which distributed more than 700,000 pounds of food last year alone.

UFCW, United Way, AFL-CIO, Valpak, Valassis, and Kellog’s are among the other partners and businesses that coordinate the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive nationally.

The effort grew out of a pilot drive was held in 10 cities in October 1991, and it proved so successful that work began immediately on making it a nationwide effort.

After receiving input from food banks and pantries, the letter carriers association decided that the best time of year for this food drive to take place would be in the late spring.

Most food banks start running out of food this time of year because the largest donations are made around Thanksgiving and Christmas.

In 2010, 77.1 million pounds of food were collected, which helped the food drive surpass the 1 billion pound mark in total food collected over its history.

In 2016, the food drive collected a record 80 million pounds of nonperishable food, raising the total amount of donations picked up over the quarter-century history of the drive to more than 1.5 billion pounds. The drive was not held in 2020 or 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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