The 24th annual National Association of Letter Carriers Food Drive, appropriately named the Stamp Out Hunger campaign, is planned for Saturday, May 14, 2016, across the entire nation. This is the biggest one-day food drive in the U.S. that last year brought in nearly 71 million pounds of food at a time when food pantries everywhere are very low on staples for food insecure families. Since this drive began in 1992, a staggering 1.4 billion pounds have been donated. The NALC, U.S. Postal Service, the United Way and several other organizations partner each year to make this a successful food drive.
Green Mountain United Way works closely with the NALC to market this event and to make sure that people in Caledonia, Essex, Orange, Orleans and Washington Counties are aware of it and are encouraged to participate.
Unfortunately, in this so-called land of plenty, families are going to bed hungry every night. In Vermont, nearly 13% of households are considered food insecure, meaning they do not have enough food to meet basic needs and not enough money to buy food. They often substitute quality for quantity, buying less nutritious, higher calorie, but lower cost foods. This often leads to obesity and poor health.
The beauty of this drive is that local postal workers collect the food along their delivery routes and turn the food over to our local food shelves to help our neighbors here at home. In May 2015, approximately 19,000 pounds of food were collected in the GMUW five counties that were delivered to 24 food shelves, also in those five counties.
The process is really quite simple. On the morning of May 14th, place your non-perishable food items in a bag near your mailbox and your letter carrier will pick it up. If you do not have a letter carrier, just bring your items to your post office and they will be happy to see that they get delivered to the nearest food shelf.
Please remember that non-perishable foods are what are needed, for example, canned vegetables, soups, beans, rice, pasta, cereal, and peanut butter. Do not include outdated items as the food shelves will have to throw these out as per government regulations.
Plan to do your share on May 14th by providing a bag or two of food that will help make a difference for food insecure families in your neighborhood. For more information, call any one of the Green Mountain United Way offices in Barre at 802-622-8056, in St. Johnsbury at 802-745-0101 or in Derby Line at 802-647-2148.