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Illinoisans Can Help Stamp Out Hunger

PHOTO: Leave bags of nonperishable food items near your mailbox on Saturday and they will be collected by your letter carrier as part of the Stamp Out Hunger food drive. Photo credit: M. Kuhlman
PHOTO: Leave bags of nonperishable food items near your mailbox on Saturday and they will be collected by your letter carrier as part of the Stamp Out Hunger food drive. Photo credit: M. Kuhlman
May 9, 2014

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – You can help out the hungry in your community this weekend without leaving your front porch or driveway.

As part of the 22nd annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive in Illinois, letter carriers will collect nonperishable foods along their routes from customers to be sorted by volunteers and delivered to local food pantries.

Ken Christy, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers in Illinois, says letter carriers are an important part of the neighborhoods they serve and enjoy the opportunity to help those they see in need.

"We have saved lives, stopped burglaries, pulled people from burning buildings,” he points out. “So, it's really special for us, because every address in America we deliver to, and it is very satisfying that we can give this back to the community that we serve."

Christy says the response from most neighborhoods is great and last year, more than 74 million pounds of food was collected nationally during the drive.

To participate, just leave a bag or box of non-perishable foods, such as pasta or canned soup, next to your mailbox before your regular mail delivery time this Saturday.

Christy says many people go hungry every day and May is a good time for the drive because it's typically not a time of year people donate food.

He talks about one delivery he made in Aurora years back.

"When we got to the food bank, we unloaded the trucks – the local pantry had one can of food left on their shelves,” he relates. “And that's pretty overwhelming – I know she was in tears and the carriers were, like, 'This is unbelievable.'"

According to Feeding Illinois, more than 1.8 million Illinoisans – or about 14 percent of the state's population – is considered food insecure, not sure where their next meal is coming from.

The food collected locally in Illinois stays in local communities.



Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IL