Floridians in Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee Counties can help stamp out hunger by leaving a sturdy bag of non-perishable foods next to their mailboxes or doors on Saturday, May 11th before their regular mail delivery.
Letter carriers and volunteers will deliver the donations to Feeding South Florida facilities for distribution to food pantries, shelters and soup kitchens that serve families, children, the elderly, people with disabilities, veterans, and the homeless population, which unfortunately, now includes the newly unemployed.
2013 marks the 21st anniversary of this national food drive.
The project is sponsored by the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) in cooperation with the U.S. Postal Service as well as the AARP’s Drive to End Hunger and the Campbell Soup Company.
In Florida, Feeding South Florida and the Treasure Coast Food Bank will join local letter carriers. Feeding South Florida serves almost 400 Partner Agencies in four counties, and Treasure Coast Food Bank serves over 200 charitable organizations in four counties.
According to an NALC spokesperson, the one-day collection provides the support food banks and agencies need to tie them through the spring and into the fall. Nationwide, the letter carriers will pick up food donations in over 10,000 communities.
For some food banks, the donations can support the community for up to six months. Food banks and agencies report the lowest donations from January to June, compared with highs around the winter holiday months, according to statistics from Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief charity.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nearly 1 million of the 50 million Americans living in homes without enough food live in South Florida, and more than 100,000 live on the Treasure Coast. It is estimated that there are 300,000 children going hungry in South Florida and another 35,000 on the Treasure Coast.
With the economic recession, the demand for food assistance has never been greater. Last year, Feeding America reported roughly 800 million pounds of food donations in April, May and June — a decrease from the one billion pounds of food donated from October to December.
That same year the NALC collected 71 million pounds of food across America.
In 2012, letter carriers from Palm Beach County collected and donated almost 500,000 pounds of food for Feeding South Florida, and letter carriers in Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee Counties collected and donated a little more than half as much food to Treasure Coast Food Bank.
The hope is that this year’s numbers will be even higher.
Suggested donations include:
- Canned meats such as tuna, salmon, chicken, turkey and ham
- Canned chunky soups and stews
- Canned beans, fruits and vegetables
- New, unopened plastic containers of peanut butter and jelly
- Dry goods such as cereal, rice and coffee
Residents over age 16 can also volunteer for afternoon and evening shifts when food collected by the letter carriers will be sorted.
To increase awareness for the NALC food drive, Feeding South Florida will host a kick-off event starting at 9 a.m. at one of its partner agencies, Holy Name of Jesus, located at 345 S. Military Trail in West Palm Beach, Fla. The distribution of about 10,000 pounds of fresh produce and dairy products is expected to serve approximately 400 households.
For more information about the annual Stamp Out Hunger effort in your community, ask your letter carrier, contact your local post office, visit either www.helpstampouthunger.com or www.facebook.com/StampOutHunger, or follow the drive at www.twitter.com/StampOutHunger.
For more information on how you can get involved in the South Florida community, visit www.feedingsouthflorida.org, call (954) 518-1818 or follow Feeding South Florida on Facebook at facebook.com/FeedingSFL or Twitter at twitter.com/FeedingSFL.
For more information on Treasure Coast Food Bank, call 772-489-3034, log on to www.stophunger.org, visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/tcfoodbank, or follow on Twitter at twitter.com/tcfoodbank.