With 16 percent of Americans at risk of hunger each day, members of the National Association of Letter Carriers hope their annual “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive will help lower the number of individuals who face malnutrition in the United States.
May 12 will mark the event’s 20th anniversary.
Brooks Bennett, a letter carrier in Bothell, has participated in the food drive since its inception. He said mail carriers have a charitable history because the nature of their work connects them with communities.
“We know that people need help from time to time and this is an easy thing for us to do,” Bennett said. “It’s one day of intense involvement and additional labor, but the feedback we get from people who benefit from the food and customers who provide food is very appreciative. And appreciation goes a long way in a volunteer effort.”
According to the Stamp Out Hunger website, the drive is the nation’s largest one-day food collection occasion. It began in 1982 and grew nationwide in 1992. Each year, letter carriers from Poulsbo, Washington to Portland, Maine collect donations that help stock local food banks for spring and summer.Last year, letter carriers across the nation collected 70.2 million pounds of food, the website stated.
Rick Horner, former president of association Branch 79 in Seattle, has participated in the drive since its start. According to Horner, the U.S. Postal Service plays a large role by providing donation bags and postage for reminder cards. He credits the food drive’s success to its many partners and the event’s consistency.
“It is at the same time each year,” Horner wrote. “It is also relatively easy to put a bag out in the morning and have your letter carrier pick it up.”
In North Kitsap, the food drive will benefit North Kitsap Fishline, ShareNet and Kingston Food Bank.