El Campo postal carriers will be joining others across the nation for the annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive taking place this coming Saturday, May 11.
Considered one of the largest one-day food drives in the nation, carriers will collect non-perishable food donations left by mailboxes and in post offices and deliver them to local community food banks, pantries and shelters.
Led by letter carriers represented by the National Association of Letter Carriers (AFL-CIO), with help from rural letter carriers, other postal employees and other volunteers, the drive has delivered more than one billion pounds of food the past 25 years. Nearly 1,500 NALC branches in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands are involved.
To donate, just place a box or can of non-perishable food next to your mailbox before your letter carrier delivers mail on the second Saturday in May. The carrier will do the rest. The food is sorted, and delivered to an area food bank or pantry, where it is available for needy families.
You may also drop donations off at the El Campo Post Office, 110 S. Mechanic
Some commonly asked questions about the drive and their answers are as follows:
Does my food donation stay local?
Yes, all food stays in the local community. It’s not shipped off to some regional distribution center hundreds of miles away. In El Campo, items are being donated to the Blessing Cup Storehouse.
What can I donate?
Please consider donating non-perishable food. The top requested non-perishable food items are: cereal, pasta, pasta sauce or spaghetti sauce, rice, canned fruits and vegetables, canned meals (such as soups, chili and pasta), 100 percent juice, peanut butter, macaroni and cheese, canned protein (tuna, chicken and turkey), beans (canned or dry). You also can donate healthy, low-sodium, low-sugar items such as beans, oatmeal and other whole grains, and canola or olive oil.
Is there anything I shouldn’t donate?
Please do not donate frozen food, homemade food or home-canned items. Please do not donate items that have expired or are in glass containers. 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.
When do I put out food donations?
On the second Saturday of May, just set out your non-perishable food well before your letter carrier’s normal pick-up time. The earlier the better. Note that he or she will be delivering and collecting mail as usual, on top of collecting food donations, so that pickup time could be slightly later than usual. Your letter carrier might also have helpers. A good rule of thumb is to have the bags by your mailbox by 9 a.m.
Do I need to use a special bag?
No special bags are needed. Paper is sturdy and tends to hold more food, while plastic holds up better if it gets wet (in the rain, etc.). Cloth bags or boxes are also fine.