This is a cross-post from NALC.org
WASHINGTON, June 6, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – The annual food drive of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) collected more than 74 million pounds of food to help restock food banks, pantries and shelters around the country – an impressive result rendered all the more necessary by the struggling economy and the multiple recent natural disasters.
The May 11 effort garnered 74.3 million pounds of food, an increase of 5 percent over last year. The total food collected was the second most in the drive’s 21 years, and the increase was the highest in a decade.
“This demonstrates in clear fashion the value of the unique postal network, which goes to 151 million addresses six days a week,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said. “It also shows the remarkable connection between letter carriers and the communities they serve – a bond that serves the nation well.”
The nation’s largest single-day food drive, the NALC effort is held annually on the second Saturday in May in 10,000 cities and towns in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam. From major metropolitan areas to small rural towns, residents put out non-perishable food donations on that day, which letter carriers collect as they deliver mail along their postal routes.
“Letter carriers see first-hand the needs in the communities where we work, and we’re honored to be able to help people in need by leading an effort that brings out the best in so many Americans,” Rolando said.
The effort by 1,400 NALC branches around the country would not have been possible without the contributions of the national partners: Feeding America, Campbell Soup Co., AARP, Valpak Direct Marketing Systems, Valassis/Red Plum, U.S. Postal Service, United Way Worldwide, AFL- CIO, Uncle Bob’s Self Storage, GLS Companies, Source Direct Plastics and the Publix grocery store chain. Rural letter carriers and other postal employees, plus members of other unions and civic volunteers, also helped, as did Family Circus cartoonist Jeff Keane.
“We could not have accomplished this without the hardworking team of partners we have, all committed to ending hunger in our country,” Pam Donato, NALC community services coordinator, said.
The Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive never has been more important than in these times, with hunger a growing problem – affecting about 50 million people around the country, including 17 million children and nine million senior citizens. Pantry shelves filled up through winter-holiday generosity often are bare by late spring. And, with most school meal programs suspended during summer months, millions of children must find alternate sources of nutrition.
The natural disasters the country has recently endured – including the tornadoes in Oklahoma and Super Storm Sandy along the East Coast – magnified the needs.
Oklahoma residents who contributed to record collections soon became recipients of the public generosity. “Thanks to Oklahoma City area letter carriers, nearly 320,000 pounds of food was collected during the Letter Carriers’ Food Drive,” said Rodney Bivens, executive director of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, a member of the Feeding America network. “These much- needed donations were immediately available to families and individuals impacted by the May tornadoes.”
And some Northeastern areas affected by Hurricane Sandy, including in Vermont and New Jersey, set food-collection records despite the hardships residents had been through.
“These events show the good will of people, good will that in such times is both more necessary and more impressive,” NALC President Rolando said.
Click here to download a two-minute video of letter carriers collecting and distributing food during national food drive.http://nalc.org/food/FD2013_pkg_v2.mpg
See below the amount of food collected state-by-state for the 2013 food drive collection results.
The 280,000-member NALC represents letter carriers across the country employed by the U.S. Postal Service, along with retired letter carriers. Founded by Civil War veterans in 1889, the NALC is among the country’s oldest labor unions.