Help stamp out hunger

Local collection set for May 13

Saturday, May 13, marks the 25th anniversary of one of America’s great days of giving – the National Association of Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive. Letter carriers drive and walk through the community every day, often coming face to face with a sad reality for too many – hunger.
So each year on the second Saturday in May, letter carriers across the country collect non-perishable food donations from customers. These donations go directly to local food pantries to provide food to people in Middlebury and beyond who need help.
Stamp Out Hunger is held in 10,000 cities and towns in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam. Among the many local volunteer groups that will help are the United Way, Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, National Guard units, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Boy and Girl Scouts, various student groups, Rotary clubs and AARP groups. “Many people in this country struggle with hunger every day,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said. “We are honored to be able to help people in need by leading an effort that brings out the best in so many Americans. Six days a week, letter carriers see first-hand the needs in the communities where we work, and we’re committed to helping meet those needs.” For more than a decade, the drive has annually collected more than 70 million pounds of food. Over the course of its history, the food drive has collected 1.4 billion pounds of food to help feed our neighbors.
Last year, letter carriers collected over 80 million pounds of food nationally, feeding an estimated 64 million people. Over the course of its 24-year history, the drive has collected well over one billion pounds of food, thanks to a postal service universal delivery network that spans the entire nation, including Puerto Rico, Guam and U.S. Virgin Islands.
The need for food donations is great. Currently, 49 million Americans – one in six – are unsure where their next meal is coming from. Sixteen million are children who feel hunger’s impact on their overall health and ability to perform in school. And nearly five million seniors over age 60 are food insecure, with many who live on fixed incomes often too embarrassed to ask for help, having to decide between food and medicine.
The food drive’s timing is crucial. Food banks and pantries often receive the majority of their donations during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons. By springtime, many pantries are depleted, entering the summer low on supplies at a time when many school breakfast and lunch programs are not available to children in need.
Here in Middlebury, our rural carriers are assisted by “bag buddies” who drive ahead of the carriers and pick up the bags of donated food by the mailboxes. All the food donated in Middlebury is then taken to the Middlebury Food Pantry where it is weighed, sorted, and stored for distribution to families that need it here in Middlebury and the surrounding area. Those participating should have non-perishable food items by their mailbox by 9 a.m. If there is inclement weather, put the donations in a plastic garbage bag and place it by the mailbox. Anyone interested in volunteering to be a “Bag Buddy” or to help weigh and sort donated items that morning should contact Cheryl Hoffman at 574-536-7570.


A Suggested items to donate to the Middlebury Food Pantry:

Canned Tuna
Canned Chicken
Macaroni and Cheese
Stuffing Mix
Cream of Mushroom Soup
Spaghetti Noodles
Spaghetti Sauce
Brownie Mix
Cereals (oatmeal and cold cereals)
Pancake Mix
Peanut Butter and Jelly
Pinto Beans
Condiments (ketchup, mustard,
mayonnaise, salt, pepper)
Vegetable Oil
Diapers (all sizes)
Dish Soap
Laundry Soap
Cleaning Detergents
Dryer Sheets
Toilet Cleaner
Toiletries (soap, toothpaste, deodorant, feminine hygiene, razors)
Canned Vegetables (green beans, carrots,
peas, corn, baked beans, pork and beans)
Canned Fruit (peaches, pears, pineapple, mandarin oranges)