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 13, in the 25th 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 524,000 pounds (262 tons) of food items. That pencils out to 524 pounds per carrier.
More than 80 million pounds of food were collected nationwide last year; more than 1.5 billion pounds of food has been collected during the campaign’s first 24 years.
Residents are urged to place non-perishable food items next to their mailboxes for pickup on May 13 before their usual mail pickup time. Mail carriers will transport the donations back to their post offices where postal employees and volunteers will sort the food and deliver it to their nearest community food banks. Post offices without residential delivery will be collecting items during the days leading up to May 13.
Post cards and plastic food donation bags promoting the food drive have been delivered by carriers 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.
The Hawaii Foodbank, through its network of island food banks and their local food pantries and meal programs, provides food assistance to more than 123,000 households statewide. Approximately 287,000 Hawaii residents, including 47,894 keiki and more than 46,000 kupuna, receive such assistance.
The most desired food donations are: Canned meats or tuna, canned meals such as chili, stew or spaghetti, canned soups, and canned fruits and vegetables.
“Last year we collected more than 262 tons of food in our statewide food drive,” said Adele Yoshikawa, Pearl City carrier and National Association of Letter Carriers food drive spokesperson. “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.”