WASHINGTON, June 17, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The annual food drive of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) collected almost 73 million pounds of food to help restock food banks, pantries and shelters around the country – an impressive result made all the more necessary by the slow-paced economy recovery and recent natural disasters.
The effort on Saturday, May 10, gathered 72.5 million pounds of food – the 11th consecutive year the NALC drive has surpassed 70 million pounds of food collected. Several local NALC branches still are compiling their figures.
This year's results bring the total to more than 1.3 billion pounds since the national drive began in 1992.
"This demonstrates the value of the unique postal network, which goes to 151 million addresses six days a week," NALC President Fredric Rolando said. "It also shows the strong connection between letter carriers and the communities they serve – a bond that serves the nation well."
The nation's largest single-day food drive, the NALC effort 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. From major metropolitan areas to small rural towns, residents put out non-perishable food donations on that day, which letter carriers collect as they deliver mail along their postal routes.
"Letter carriers see first-hand the needs in the communities where we work, and we're honored to be able to help people in need by leading an effort that brings out the best in so many Americans," President Rolando said.
Hunger affects about 49 million people around the country, including millions of children and senior citizens. Pantry shelves filled up through winter-holiday generosity often are bare by late spring. And, with most school meal programs suspended during summer months, millions of children must find alternate sources of nutrition.
"The Postal Service's universal network makes it possible for us to provide this critically needed assistance," NALC food drive coordinator Pam Donato said. "So, too, do the many groups who help."
Carriers brought the food to local food banks, pantries or shelters, including many affiliated with Feeding America, which was a national partner in the drive, as were United Way, AARP Drive to End Hunger, Publix, Campbell Soup Co., the U.S. Postal Service, National Rural Letter Carriers' Association, the AFL-CIO, Valpak, Valassis and Uncle Bob's Self Storage.
Among the many local volunteer groups that helped the nation's 175,000 letter carriers were the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, National Guard units, American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, Boy/Girl Scouts, various student groups, local Rotary Clubs, local and state AARP groups and local United Way volunteers.
Photos for this year's food drive are available at the Flickr photo album: https://flic.kr/s/aHsjXtvEXq
The 280,000-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.
SOURCE National Association of Letter Carriers