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“Stamp Out Hunger” Food Drive,

National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), “Stamp Out Hunger” Food Drive,

WHEN: PICK-UP will be Saturday, May 13th

Mail Carriers will deliver grocery bags the week of May 8-12th, non-perishables will be picked up on SATURDAY(13th)

According to Mark Bledsoe, President/CEO of United Way of Greater Texarkana; “60,000 bags are being delivered locally within the Texarkana region during the week of May 8th for the “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive.  These bags are provided to the community, thanks to the generosity of local sponsors which paid for the grocery bags initiated by the United Way of Greater Texarkana. There will be an official kick-off on Tuesday, May 9th, 8:30am held at the Oaklawn US Post Office, Robison Road, Texarkana Texas. Both Texarkana, USA Mayors Ruth Penney-Bell (TXK, AR) & Bob Bruggeman (TXK, TX) will be on hand to issue a proclamation.  John Hill is spearheading the efforts on behalf of the local letter carriers, he’s been with the United States Post Office for 31 years. The agencies/pantries receiving these donated supplies will also be on hand at the kick-off. These agencies are: Harvest Regional Food Bank, Salvation Army, Randy Sams Center, Texarkana Friendship Center & Domestic Violence. Food collected through this drive will be picked up and stored at Harvest Regional Food Bank.  The local mail carriers will pick up the grocery bags on SATURDAY, MAY 13th. (RAIN OR SHINE).”

The NALC National Food Drive is the outgrowth of a tradition of community service exhibited repeatedly by members of the letter carriers union over the years. These carriers, who go into neighborhoods in every town six days a week, have always been involved when something needed to be done. For many years, a number of branches had collected food for the needy as part of their community service effort. The national, coordinated effort by the NALC to help fight hunger in America grew out of discussions in 1991 by a number of leaders at the time, including NALC President Vincent R. Sombrotto, AFL-CIO Community Services Director Joseph Velasquez and Postmaster General Anthony Frank. A pilot drive was held in 10 cities in October of 1991, and it proved so successful that work began immediately on making it a nationwide effort. Input from food banks and pantries suggested that late spring would be the best time since by then most food banks in the country start running out of donations received during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday periods.

A revamped drive was organized for May 15, 1993—the second Saturday in May—with a goal of having at least one NALC branch in each of the 50 states participating. The result was astounding. More than 11 million pounds of food was collected—a one-day record in the United States—involving more than 220 union branches.

From Alaska to Florida and Maine to Hawaii, letter carriers did double duty—delivering mail and picking up donations. It just grew and grew from that point. In 2010, the food drive surpassed the 1 billion pound mark in total food collected over its history.

Frequently Asked Questions (and answers)

 

When do I put out the food? On Saturday of May, 13th…. just set out your non-perishable food well before your letter carrier’s normal pick-up time. The earlier the better! Note that he or she will be delivering and collecting mail as usual, on top of collecting food donations, so that pickup time could be slightly later than usual. Your letter carrier might also have helpers. A good rule of thumb is to have the bags by your mailbox by 9 a.m.

What do you mean by “non-perishable food?” The top requested non-perishable food items are: cereal, pasta, pasta sauce or spaghetti sauce, rice, canned fruits and vegetables, canned meals (such as soups, chili and pasta), 100% juice, peanut butter, macaroni & cheese, canned protein (tuna, chicken and turkey), beans (canned or dry). You also can donate healthy, low-sodium, low-sugar items such as beans, oatmeal and other whole grains, and canola or olive oil.

Is there anything I shouldn’t donate? Please do not donate frozen food, homemade food or home-canned items. Please do not donate items that have expired or are in glass containers. In keeping with good food-handling and food-safety procedures, food that is opened, damaged, out of code or does not have the official ingredients included will be discarded by the food bank in the sorting process.

I put food out and it wasn’t picked up. Why not? Letter carriers try to touch every single mail box in America during the Food Drive, but the fact is that we do admittedly miss some. The Food Drive takes place in more than 10,000 cities and towns across America. It’s an effort to raise national awareness about the real, ongoing problem of hunger in every community, and it’s a sincere attempt to use our unique delivery network to do something about it. Please note, though, that participation is strictly voluntary, and no system is perfect—oversights will occur. If your donation is not picked up, contact your local post office or simply place your donation by your mailbox on Monday instead. (Letter carriers will be picking up missed donations on Monday, too.) And of course, your local food banks and pantries will gratefully accept your donation in person. In any case, we are deeply thankful for your generosity and are truly sorry for any inconvenience.

Do I need to use a special bag? No! No special bags are needed, simply use the one provided.  Paper is sturdy and tends to hold more food, while plastic holds up better if it gets wet (in the rain, etc.). Cloth bags or boxes are also fine. So it’s your choice. And most bags and boxes can be easily recycled. Your letter carrier will gladly take anything you leave out!

I received a special Food Drive bag in the mail; do I have to use only that bag? You can if you want to, but any old bag is just fine. (See above.)

Are food drive donations tax-deductible?

All donations to the Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger® Food Drive are tax-deductible because all of the food collected on Food Drive Day is given directly to non-profit charity food agencies in the community the food was collected.

 

“Everyone’s support is greatly appreciated, many of our good citizens are just one disaster away from needing to have hunger needs met. This is just another example of our region reaching out to take care of our own local needs. Food raised from this drive stays here locally!”

 

Thank you in advance,

 

Mark

 

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