The National Association of Letter Carriers will join forces with the U.S. Postal Service May 12 for the 20th annual nationwide food drive, “Stamp Out Hunger.”
Together, the organizations request that residents leave non-perishable food items such as canned soup, canned vegetables, pasta, rice, canned beans and healthy cereals in a sturdy bag
in or near their mailboxes early in the morning on the 12th so carriers can collect donations as they deliver mail.
After they pick up the items, carriers will transport them to a central location, where food banks will collect them. Reminder postcards will be delivered to households the week before the drive.
Since its inception, said Warwick resident Steve Lepre, also the food drive coordinator, the effort has accumulated more than 1 billion pounds of food for food banks across the nation. The event is the country’s largest single-day food drive and Rhode Island has been involved for the last 18 years.
All the food collected in the Ocean State will be donated to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank and will help to feed more than 60,000 people who depend on the Food Bank’s statewide network of emergency food programs to meet basic food needs.
Further, a third of the people served by the Food Bank are children under the age of 18.
“The time of year we have it coincides with the time children will be home from school for summer vacation, so it provides children with lunches,” Lepre said. “The shelves are bare. It’s an important food drive.”
In a press release, Andrew Schiff, chief executive officer of the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, said he is grateful for the event. He feels it reflects the letter carriers’ dedication to the communities in which they live and work, as well as the kindness of residents.
“Children, seniors and families struggling to get back on their feet are really depending on their neighbors’ generosity in this annual food drive,” he said. “Every can and every box of healthy food will help a Rhode Islander in need.”
“It’s a great idea and something we take a lot of pride in,” he said. “The best thing I can do for myself is help someone else. There’s nothing like helping others. It just feels good.”
For more information on the food drive, visit www.helpstampouthunger.com, and for more information on the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, visit www.rifoodbank.org or call 401-942-6325, extension 213.
Other partners supporting the “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive include Feeding America; Campbell Soup Company; the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association; Valpak; United Way; AFL-CIO; Uncle Bob’s Self-Storage; and AARP.