Postal workers look to ‘Stamp Out Hunger’

Postal workers look to ‘Stamp Out Hunger’

In recognition of the annual partnership between the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) and local food banks, the Walden Road Post Office hosted a news conference Thursday, May 11 to promote the 25th Annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, conducted throughout the nation and region on Saturday, May 13.

The Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is conducted annually on the second Saturday of May, as letter carriers voluntarily pick up bags of non-perishable food items left at mail boxes on their delivery route.  This leverages the door-to-door activity of mail carriers as a force for hunger relief and yields the largest single day food drive throughout the nation each year.  

Food collected locally by NALC branches in Beaumont and Port Arthur is delivered to the Southeast Texas Food Bank for sorting and distribution throughout the Food Bank’s service territory.  In the 25-year history of the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, hundreds of thousands of pounds of food have been collected locally and more than 1.5 billion pounds of food have been collected around the nation.

“I think what it says is the community gets hunger as a reality,” said Dan Maher, executive director of the Southeast Texas Food Bank, “and is getting creative on how it can rally around the issue. While this has a long-standing tradition under it, it is a model I think for other venues and businesses as to how they can leverage their resources to address hunger as well. And so I really appreciate that the Postal Service and the National Association of Letter Carriers highlight that model to the community and that they’ve had such an impact of over the last 25 years.”

During the May 11 news conference, representatives of the U.S. Postal Service, Branch 842 of the National Association of Letter Carriers, and of the Southeast Texas Food Bank presented remarks on the importance of the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive and the impact it has on the local community.  One of these representatives was Eleanor Mitchell, postmaster for Beaumont.

“We deliver to every address so we can collect the can goods and non-perishable items from everyone where as others may not be able to get to every address. Since we have that opportunity, that’s our way of giving back,” Mitchell said.

Maher said he hopes this year the drive will surpass the goal of more than 50,000 pounds of food collected, a goal that was met in 2016. In 2012, the drive set a local record of 99,665 pounds collected, he added. As far as the Southeast Texas Food Bank’s total output goal for the year, Maher said the non-profit is aiming to distribute around 5.8 million pounds of food.

“To really stretch ourselves and stretch the community we’d like to get to 100,000 pounds, which would be a record year,” Maher said of the 25th Annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive. “

Mitchell said she hopes that both businesses and residents will get behind the cause more than ever on Saturday.

“Please put the canned goods out to help the needy,” Mitchell asks.

Photo by Kevin King - Eleanor Mitchell, postmaster for Beaumont speaks at the 25th Annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive press conference Thursday, May 11.

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