With U.S. unemployment at 8.5 percent in March, the highest rate in 25 years—and expected to get even worse when April’s figures are released this week—the Letter Carriers (NALC) annual national food drive on Saturday comes at one of the most critical times in its 17-year history.
You can help “Stamp out Hunger” by collecting canned goods and dry food, such as tuna, canned meat, soups, pasta, rice and cereal, and leaving them in a bag or box by your mailbox. Your letter carrier will pick them up as they deliver your mail Saturday. NALC members will deliver the goods to local food banks, pantries and shelters to help needy families in 10,000 cities and towns in all 50 states and U.S. jurisdictions.
Last year, carriers collected a record 73.1 million pounds of food. But, as NALC President William Young notes, the drive must be even more successful this year.
Millions and millions of families are suffering—struggling to make ends meet and put food on the table. There are countless families that are destitute—many where a job loss has hit for the first time—and with little or no income to feed, cloth and house themselves.
More than ever food banks, pantries and shelters need our help this year. As families count on them for support, they’re counting on us and we must not back off on our commitment.
Young also noted that donations are particularly critical at this time because most school lunch programs are suspended during the summer months and millions of children must find alternative sources of nutrition. Gayle Whitehead, executive director of Crisis Ministry in Davidson County, N.C., says the food drive
keeps us going through the summer months….People don’t think about hunger in the summer. This keeps the pantry stocked.
Postal employees and rural letter carriers are assisting in the effort, as are members of other unions and thousands of civic volunteers. Co-sponsoring the drive are Feeding America, formerly known as America’s Second Harvest, the nation’s food bank network; the United Way of America and its local United Ways; and the AFL-CIO.
In New York City and Chicago, where transportation limitations preclude mailbox pickup, residents are asked to take donations to their local post offices between May 4 and 9.
If you have any questions about the food drive, talk with your letter carrier or contact your local post office.