Food drive set for Saturday

By: 
Dana Guthrie
Staff Writer

The National Association of Letter Carriers will hold its annual national food drive Saturday with all local donations going to the Churches Joint Council on Human Needs.
The Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is a nationwide event that takes place in more than 10,000 cities across America and is an outgrowth of the National Association of Letter Carrier’ tradition of community service. The event is held annually on the second Saturday in May.
“It’s the largest one-day food drive probably in the world,” said letter carrier and former event coordinator Kevin Mustaine. “We collect tons and tons of food every year. We have always donated to CJCOHN.”

The coordinated effort nationwide was born out of discussions held in 1991 by a number of leaders at the time. A pilot drive was held in 10 cities in October 1991 and it proved so successful that work began immediately on making it a nationwide effort. A revamped drive was organized for May 15, 1993, with a goal of having at least one NALC branch in each of the 50 states participating. The result was that more than 220 union branches collecting more than 11 million pounds of food — a one-day record in the United States.
According to Mustaine, local participation is usually high.

“We take (the food) back to the post office and weigh it, usually,” Mustaine said. “Last year we received nearly 33,000 pounds.”
This week, letter carriers will be delivering brown paper bags provided through a partnership between the local post office and Everett Buick GMC, however, donations will be accepted in any type of bag or box.
Individuals are encouraged to fill the bags with food to be donated and leave the bag near their mailbox on Saturday. The top requested nonperishable food items are cereal, pasta, pasta sauce or spaghetti sauce, rice, canned fruits and vegetables, and canned meals (such as soups, chili and pasta). Other highly requested items include 100 percent juice, peanut butter, macaroni and cheese, canned protein (tuna, chicken and turkey), and beans (canned or dry).

Participants also can donate healthy, low-sodium, low-sugar items such as beans, oatmeal and other whole grains, and canola or olive oil.
The NALC asks that participants should not donate items such as frozen food, homemade food or home-canned items. In keeping with good food-handling and food-safety procedures, food that is opened, damaged, out of code or does not have the official ingredients included will be discarded by the food bank in the sorting process. Please do not donate items that have expired or are in glass containers.

For more information on how you can participate, contact your local post office or visit www.stampouthungerfooddrive.us.

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