Hunger is a problem that doesn't simply go away when the weather warms up.
On Saturday, however, the bags carried by postal workers will be stocked with precious cargo as they're filled with food for those in need. Stamp Out Hunger, the nation's largest single-day food drive, will be taking place across the country the second Saturday in May as mail carriers for the USPS collect food from homes along their route to help stock food pantries around the nation.
"We're asking everyone to help out this year," said Dana Pettinato, National Association of Letter Carriers local food drive coordinator. "The items you leave out for the mailman on May 11 will help meet a critical need in this community. Our local food pantries are being utilized more and more and it's vital that we keep them well-stocked."
Pictured, from left, are Teresia Davis, programs assistant at Joint Neighborhood Project; Major Douglas Hart with the Salvation Army in Jamestown; Dana Pettinato, NALC local food drive coordinator; Jolene Holliday, Salvation Army coordinator of Comprehensive Financial Assistance Program; and Lori Franzen, Salvation Army Food Pantry coordinator.
Nonperishable food items that are donated will go to help fill food pantries at both the Salvation Army and Joint Neighborhood Project in Jamestown. Last year, over 8,700 pounds of canned soup, vegetables, meats, pasta, and cereal were collected locally. This year, they're hoping for more.
"Hunger, sadly, is something that never seems to go away," said Major Douglas Hart with the Salvation Army. "This is a chance for everyone to help out those less fortunate by simply picking up a few extra items at the grocery store. Just leave those items by your mailbox and the mailman will pick them up."
This is the 21st annual NALC Food Drive with all 50 states participating. Jamestown will join 10,000 other towns across the country to take part in taking a stand against hunger.
"The timing of Stamp Out Hunger is so crucial," said Patricia Perlee, interim director at Joint Neighborhood Project. "By early May, our pantry shelves that were filled up through the winter-holiday generosity are getting bare. This event helps at a critical moment and I would just encourage everyone, while they're out buying that gift for Mother's Day, to also think about the hungry and pick up a little something for them too."
Donated food items should be placed in a sturdy bag. No glass containers will be accepted, and the canned items should be free of any dents. Financial donations can also be made, and should be in the form of a check with the memo line reading "Stamp Out Hunger" and placed in an envelope for the mailman that day. Besides NALC, other national partners for Stamp Out Hunger include: Campbell Soup Co., AARP, Valpak Direct Marketing Systems, Valassis/Red Plum, the U.S. Postal Service, United Way Worldwide, the AFL-CIO, Uncle Bob's Self-Storage, GLS Companies, Source Direct Plastics, and Publix. Nick Cannon, host of TV's "America's Got Talent," is back again this year as the national celebrity spokesperson for the drive.
For more information, visit www.helpstampouthunger.com.