WASHINGTON, D.C., June 5, 2012 —In a highly successful nationwide food drive, the National Association of Letter Carriers collected more than 70.5 million pounds of food on Saturday, May 12, at a time when hunger is a major problem.
The NALC’s annual one-day drive, largest in the nation, is held on the second Saturday in May in 10,000 cities and towns in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam. This was the 20th annual NALC Food Drive to stamp out hunger.
“These results will enable the food pantries that we supply across the country to help feed the 50 million Americans, one-third of them children, who live in families that lack sufficient food,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said.
“Six days a week, as we deliver mail to every address in America, letter carriers see first-hand the needs in the communities we work in, and we’re privileged to lead an effort that brings out the best in so many Americans,” he said.
Non-perishable donations that residents left in sturdy bags near their mailboxes were collected by the nation’s 200,000 letter carriers as they delivered mail on Saturday, May 12.
This was the ninth consecutive NALC drive surpassing 70 million pounds of food collected. Several local NALC branches are still compiling their figures, but already this year’s total tops last year’s 70.2 million pounds.
Since the annual food drive began in 1993, letter carriers have collected more than 1.2 billion pounds of food.
The good results this year were achieved despite the continuing tough economy, which makes the drive all the more important. So, too, does the timing.
“This drive allows letter carriers to help replenish food banks during difficult summer months when millions of children have no school breakfast or lunch programs to count on,” NALC’s Community Service Coordinator Linda Giordano said.
Various places saw dramatic increases in the amount of food collected this year, including the states of Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas, as well as Los Angeles and Chicago – with some communities reporting a five-fold increase.
“We could not achieve these results without the contributions of our national and local sponsors, the assistance of those groups that help our branches collect the food, and the generosity of our postal customers,” NALC Assistant to the President Pam Donato said.
Carriers around the country brought the food from their routes on Saturday, May 12, to local food banks, pantries or shelters, including many affiliated with Feeding America, a national partner in the drive. Assisting 1,600 local NALC branches were rural letter carriers and other postal employees, plus members of other unions and civic volunteers.
Other national partners were Campbell Soup Co., AARP, the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, Valpak, the U.S. Postal Service, United Way Worldwide, the AFL-CIO and Uncle Bob’s Self Storage. Bags were provided by AARP, Campbell, Publix grocery chain and International Paper, Campbell’s provided postcards to remind postal customers of the drive and Valpak encouraged donations on its envelopes.