You know that bag of food you’ve been meaning to drop off at the local food pantry? This Saturday, your mail carrier will do the work for you.
May 12 marks the 20th Annual "Stamp Out Hunger" food drive, and it couldn’t be easier to participate. Simply put a bag of non-perishable food out with your mail. Your postal worker will collect it on his or her route and deliver it to a local food aid organization.
Stamp Out Hunger is the nation’s largest single-day food collection drive, according to the U.S. Postal Service. Last year, carriers picked up 70 million pounds of food nationwide, and nearly 2 million pounds in New Jersey alone, USPS spokesman George Flood said.
The food drive actually belongs to the postal workers union, the National Association of Letter Carriers, while the USPS supports it, Flood said.
Last year, the Campbell Soup Company, a major sponsor of the event, donated 1 million pounds of food to the drive, Flood said.
In Monmouth County, most participating post offices will deliver the food to the Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, while Ocean County carriers typically bring the items directly to local shelters and soup kitchens, according to Foodbank spokeswoman Lorie Blanco.
The Foodbank distributes the items to 260 emergency feeding programs, reaching 127,000 people, 51,000 of which are kids, Blanco said.
Blanco said this time of year is crucial for re-stocking food pantry shelves as needy children and teens are about to finish school, where they were likely receiving two free meals per day.
The Foodbank can take any non-perishable items, but Blanco emphasized the need for shelf-stable milk, cereals, peanut butter and jelly, pasta, rice, canned tuna, canned vegetables and fruits, soups, juice, and any ready-to-eat canned meals.
Blanco added that the Foodbank, however, cannot accept baby food or formula.