Who would think that here in America, one of the richest countries in the world, we would have a problem with our people going hungry? But it is a problem. A big problem. At last count, one in six of our fellow citizens is going hungry daily, and here in North Carolina more than one in four children struggle with hunger. In addition, North Carolina, along with Louisiana, leads the nation with the highest percentage of children under five years of age who are food insecure on a regular basis.
Even though it’s a huge problem here, we don’t hear much about it. But, from time to time, you’ll see it resurface in the headlines as it did recently with a story about student food pantries that are now springing up at our state’s colleges and universities.
Twenty-two years ago the National Association of Letter Carriers and the U.S. Postal Service began a nation-wide program to address the problem of hunger. Every year since then rural and city carriers have been delivering your mail and picking up food on the second Saturday in May. This year it will be on May 10.
Over the past 21 years, the food drive has collected well over one billion pounds of food, thanks to a postal service universal delivery network that spans the entire country, including Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Letter carriers chose this particular Saturday of each year for a reason. Food banks and pantries usually receive the majority of their food donations over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. By the time spring rolls around, or well before, many of our community food banks resemble Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard.
The response from our customers over the years has been phenomenal. Last year the nation’s letter carriers collected over 74 million pounds of food, feeding an estimated 30 million people. In the High Point-Archdale-Thomasville area we collected over 75,000 pounds of food. Our goal this year is 100,000. That’s a goal that should be easily obtainable. Just imagine the amount of food we could collect for our local food banks and pantries if each member of a family donated just one can or package of non-perishable food on May 10.
Participating in the Letter Carriers’ food drive is simple. All you have to do is leave a non-perishable food donation in a bag either in or by your mailbox on May 10 and your letter carrier will pick it up. Spread the word so we can restock the nation’s – and your local – communities depleted food banks and pantries.