More than 175,000 mail carriers across the nation will lead the U.S. Postal Service’s effort to “Stamp Out Hunger” by collecting food donations throughout Hawaii and in cities and towns across the country on Saturday, May 10, in the 22nd annual National Association of Letter Carriers’ Food Drive.
The drive is the nation’s largest one-day effort to combat hunger and is held to support the mission of community food banks, such as the Hawaii Foodbank. Last year, about 1,000 of Hawaii’s mail carriers collected more than 499,000 pounds of food items, led by the 46,000 pounds collected by the Pearl City Post Office. Nationwide, more than 74 million pounds of food were collected last year; almost 1.3 billion pounds of food has been collected during the campaign’s first 21 years.
Residents are urged to place non-perishable food items next to their mailbox for pickup on May 10 before their usual mail pickup time. The mail carriers will then transport the donations back to their Post Offices where postal employees and their families will sort the food and deliver it to their nearest community food banks. Post Offices without residential delivery will be collecting items during the week leading up to May 10.
Post cards and plastic food donation bags promoting the food drive will be delivered by carriers a few days before the drive to homes across Hawaii as a reminder to participate in the drive. In addition, food drive reminder fliers will be distributed to students at more than 400 public, private and charter schools across the state.
More than 183,500 people — or 14 percent of Hawaii’s population — including 55,000 children, receive emergency food each year through the Hawaii Foodbank network.
“The NALC Food Drive is a big help because it always results in a lot of canned protein items, which are our ‘Most Wanted’ items.” said Mike Kajiwara, Hawaii Foodbank Director of Product Donations.
Kajiwara listed the following as the most desired food donations: Canned meats or tuna, canned meals such as chili, stew or spaghetti, canned soups, and canned fruits and vegetables.
“Last year we increased our total food collections by 13 percent over the previous year,” said Adele Yoshikawa, Pearl City Carrier and NALC Food Drive Co-Coordinator. “Our goal in Hawaii is to top last year’s totals, but we’ll be happy to collect any amount of food. We ask that our customers, friends and families help us ‘Stamp Out Hunger’ by supporting this drive.
“This annual food drive demonstrates how the Postal Service goes beyond just delivering the mail to helping those in our communities who are less fortunate.”