Wyoming Prepares to Stamp Out Hunger
CHEYENNE, Wyo. - Mark your calendar and start putting aside nonperishable food items. This Saturday, U.S. postal workers will be making the rounds, collecting food donations for needy families.
The 24th annual Stamp Out Hunger event, held on the second Saturday in May, will take place in 10,000 cities and towns in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Pam Donato, community and membership outreach coordinator for the National Association of Letter Carriers, said all you have to do is put your food items next to your mail slot and a postal worker will deliver them to a local food bank or pantry.
"Hunger is a real issue in America, " she said, "and the thing that we are absolutely certain of is that when Americans understand the need -- and they realize that it's a real need and they feel that they can do something about it, make a difference -- that they will."
Donato said 49 million Americans, including 16 million children, are affected by hunger. One in five households with a member who served in the U.S. military turns to a food bank for assistance.
When the program first started, Donato said, it was held in the fall. However, she added, the letter carriers quickly learned pantry shelves that fill up during winter holidays often are bare by late spring. With most school meal programs not available during summer months, she said, millions of children will be looking for alternate sources of nutrition.
"So where they may get a program for breakfast or lunch in school, with no school in session," she said, "those children really rely on the food shelves in their own community."
As they deliver the mail, the nation's 175,000 letter carriers will be joined by retired letter carriers and volunteers to collect donations. People are encouraged to put nonperishable foods such as canned soup, canned vegetables, canned fish and meats, pasta, peanut butter, rice and cereal next to their mailbox before the regular mail delivery time on Saturday.