When people are displaced from their homes and cut off from their jobs after disasters such as tornadoes, floods or hurricanes, there’s a greater demand on food banks. In 2005, after New Orleans was hit by Hurricane Katrina, the city’s Second Harvest Food Bank became the largest food bank in the world’s history. During the next two years, Second Harvest gave out more than 75 million pounds of food.
Like Hurricane Katrina, most disasters happen without warning. That means it’s up to all of us to make sure our food banks are ready, all the time. That’s where you — and your local post office — come in.
When your postal carrier drops by this Saturday, she or he will be ready to pick up more than just mail. Saturday, May 14, is the national Stamp Out Hunger food drive, during which postal carriers pick up food donations that are set out next to U.S. mailboxes.
Now in its 24th year, the Stamp Out Hunger food drive collected 71 million pounds of food in 2015. The event is organized by the National Association of Letter Carriers with support from the U.S. Postal Service, United Way and other sponsors.
To take part, just leave a sturdy bag containing non-perishable, non-expired foods, such as canned vegetables, pasta, rice or cereal, next to your mailbox before your mail comes on Saturday. Carriers will bring the food to local food banks, pantries or shelters. If you’re not sure whether your postal carrier will be taking part in the food drive Saturday, contact your local post office.
Also, for the first time, the food drive is collecting online donations, which will be used to support food banks in San Francisco and New York City.
If you can’t take part in Saturday’s food drive, you can hold your own event at another time of the year. APHA’s Get Ready campaign has a free how-to toolkit for making your community food drive a success.
For more information on the food drive, visit the Stamp Out Hunger event website or follow the food drive on Facebook or Twitter.