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A “Special Delivery” for AZ Hunger Relief

May 6, 2010

PHOENIX - Letter carriers across Arizona will be picking up and delivering more than the mail Saturday as they work to help end hunger. The effort, called Stamp Out Hunger, will collect non-perishable food items from mail routes and make the food available to local food banks.

Ken Roberts, Branch 176 vice president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, says shopping bags will be distributed in advance of the drive.

"The food banks tell us that just two bags of food could feed a family of four for several days. The food banks actually adjust the food to try and make a complete meal out of what they gather."

Last year, Phoenix-area letter carriers collected nearly 800,000 pounds of food. This year, Roberts is hoping for even more.

"We're trying to hit the half-million-pound mark in our branch. In the Valley, I would really love to get a million."

The Stamp Out Hunger idea originated in Arizona. Roberts was one of the letter carriers whose efforts more than 20 years ago led to what has become today's national effort.

"They'd use their own vehicles and collect the food on Sundays. And, in the 80s, local management of United States Postal Service thought it might be a good idea to let us do it on a work day and use USPS vehicles."

Food collected by the carriers will be taken to local post offices where it will be picked up by the major food banks. Arizona ranks 17th in the nation for families who aren't sure they'll have enough food, day to day.

More than 5,000 mail carriers will participate in metro Phoenix alone. This year, Arizonans also have the option of donating cash online at

Doug Ramsey, Public News Service - AZ