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A Team Effort to "Stamp Out Hunger"

May 9, 2014

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Residents across South Dakota have a chance this weekend to help others in their community by taking part in the Stamp Out Hunger food drive.

It's sponsored by the AARP Foundation in cooperation with the National Association of Letter Carriers and the U.S. Postal Service.

Cathy McLeer, associate state director of AARP South Dakota, says for older South Dakotans, food insecurity is a particular problem.

"We know that about 5 percent of South Dakota's population 50 and older faces food insecurity on a regular basis, meaning they don't have enough money to buy the food that they need or nutritional food to support those needs,” she says. “They're having to choose between buying medications, having to choose to keep the lights on or putting food on the table."

You may have received a Stamp Out Hunger bag from your letter carrier.

To be part of the food drive, put canned goods in it and leave it near your mailbox on Saturday.

McLeer says the efforts of mail carriers across the state make this food drive possible.

"All people have to do is find a canned good or nonperishable food item – jar of peanut butter in their pantry – and put it out with their mail before their letter carrier comes to pick up their mail on Saturday,” she explains. “And their letter carrier will take care of it, and make sure that it gets to the appropriate venue in their community."

McLeer stresses even the smallest communities can take part, and the food collected will stay in that local area.

"Whether it's your local pantry – maybe it's your local social services, maybe it's a local church that has taken on the role of making sure that people have enough to eat,” she says. “So, if you live in a small community, it's not hard to find where those items are being collected or distributed."

McLeer points out it's a simple step people can take to help reduce hunger in their area.

Last year, the U.S. Postal Service picked up more than 74 million pounds of food nationwide.

Jerry Oster, Public News Service - SD