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Letter carriers helping to stamp out hunger

 

Jamie Stewart | The Shafter Press

Letter carrier Norma Hammer leads antihunger effort in Shafter.

May 11 will mark the 27th anniversary of the National Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger campaign. This program has collected 1.67 billion pounds of food over the 26 years it has been in existence.

"We are proud to be a part of this campaign and work hard to help give families in our communities much needed food for their households," Shafter letter carrier Norma Hammer said.

Last year, the Shafter branch of the post office collected 2,359 pounds of food that will go to local food banks and pantries. Hammer said that the timing of their food drive 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."

The Stamp Out Hunger campaign is the outgrowth of the National Association of Letter Carriers' tradition of community service, exhibited by members of the letter carriers' union over the years. For many years, a number of NALC's branches had collected food for the needy as part of their community service efforts. A national coordinated effort by the NALC to help fight hunger grew out of discussions in 1991 by a number of leaders at the time.

A pilot drive was held in 10 cities in October of 1991, and it proved successful. Input from food banks and pantries suggested that late spring would be the best time, since by then most food banks in the country start running low on donations..

It was decided that the second weekend in May would be the date of the first drive, and the program began. In 2010, the effort surpassed the one billion pound mark in total food collected over its history.

The Shafter letter carriers will be working to increase the amount collected last year, and Hammer said that it is simple to participate in the drive. "All you have to do is leave a nonperishable food donation in a bag by your mailbox on Saturday, May 11, and your letter carrier will do the rest."

With the communities' help, letter carriers are helping the nation's hungry, taking steps to "Stamp Out Hunger" in every neighborhood.

 

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