Mark your calendar! Saturday, May 12 is the 26thannual National Association of Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive. That day, your local letter carrier not only will bring you your mail, he/she also will pick up your food donations and deliver them to United Food Bank (UFB), which serves those in need in the East Valley and eastern Arizona. Place your non-perishable, non-breakable food donations near your mail box by 8 a.m. on the 12thand you will personally impact the lives of your neighbors in need.
The largest one-day food drive in America, this effort comes at a vital time for UFB as it works to stock its shelves to meet increased need during the coming summer months. For example, school-aged children who participate in free or reduced-price lunch programs at their schools will soon be on summer break. For many of these students, that lunch may be their only guaranteed meal of the day. In the East Valley alone, 25 percent of our children qualify as food insecure. That’s more than 60,000 children from financially struggling families whose parents need to come up with an additional five meals per week per child. In cases where their children’s school offers a free breakfast program, that’s another five meals a week to add to the tally of increasing food needs.
When you’re living paycheck to paycheck, even small increases in food spending have a cascading impact on your budget. Just imagine the heavy burden carried by parents who have no choice but to send their children to bed hungry. That’s why they turn for help from one of UFB’s 222 community partners — pantries, after-school youth programs, residential facilities, community kitchens, community centers and others who provide direct service to those in need.
Every donation adds up. Cereal, dried or canned milk, peanut butter, canned chili and stew, beans, rice and meats like canned tuna and chicken, are some of the most needed and nutritional food items to donate.
Your donations to the Stamp Out Hunger drive makes a real difference in meeting summer needs. Last year, the Food Bank received more than 119,000 pounds of food from this annual effort, translating into nearly 100,000 meals.