Donations Critical as Thousands Join Hunger Rolls; Effort Will Help Feed Needy Families in All 50 States
WASHINGTON, April 6, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) announced today that the nation's largest food drive to combat hunger will be conducted this year on Saturday, May 14. On that day, letter carriers will collect non-perishable donations from homes as they deliver mail along their postal routes.
This is the 19th annual NALC National Food Drive to stamp out hunger. The one-day drive is held annually on the second Saturday in May in 10,000 cities and towns in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam.
Carriers last year collected a record 77.1 million pounds of food donations along their postal routes – pushing the total to more than one billion pounds for the food drive, which began in 1992.
Americans are encouraged to leave a sturdy bag containing non-perishable foods, such as canned soup, canned vegetables, canned meats and fish, pasta, rice or cereal next to their mailbox before the regular mail delivery on Saturday, May 14.
As the letter carriers start toward the two-billion-pound mark, NALC President Fredric V. Rolando emphasized that there has never been a greater need for a successful drive. About 50 million Americans live in families that lack sufficient food. One of every three – 17 million – is a child.
"In every corner of this country, there are people and families who are hungry, including children," Rolando said. "As letter carriers, we have the privilege of serving communities six days a week, of getting to know people, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to serve them in this way as well."
Donations are critical now, he noted. With most school lunch programs suspended during summer months, millions of children must find alternate sources of nutrition.
The nation's 230,000 active letter carriers will collect the donations and take them to a local food bank, pantry or shelter, including hundreds affiliated with Feeding America, a national partner in the drive. Assisting 1,400 local branches of the NALC will be rural letter carriers and other postal employees, plus members of other unions and civic volunteers.
Eighty-two million postcards, produced by Campbell Soup Co., will be mailed to postal customers to remind them of the drive. Campbell will again donate one pound of food (up to one million pounds) to the Feeding America food bank network for every person who joins the Stamp Out Hunger Facebook community.
"As letter carriers," Rolando said, "we see people on our daily routes who rely on the generosity of others to help provide something as basic as a meal in a time of need. We're proud to continue this program of critical assistance to needy families in every state in the union."
Public service announcements featuring radio and television host Nick Cannon are being made available throughout the country. Valpak Direct Marketing Systems is focusing 44 million of its envelopes on encouraging food donations. AARP is donating three million paper bags.
In addition to the National Rural Letter Carriers' Association, Campbell, Feeding America and Valpak, also supporting the drive as national partners are the U.S. Postal Service, United Way Worldwide, the AFL-CIO and Uncle Bob's Self Storage.
The 300,000-member NALC represents letter carriers across the country employed by the U.S. Postal Service, along with retired letter carriers. Founded by Civil War veterans in 1889, the NALC is among the country's oldest labor unions.