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Ore. Letter Carriers to Help Stamp Out Hunger on Saturday

The goal of this year's Stamp Out Hunger for Oregon and Clark County, Wash., is to collect 1.2 million pounds of  food. (Oregon Food Bank)
The goal of this year's Stamp Out Hunger for Oregon and Clark County, Wash., is to collect 1.2 million pounds of food. (Oregon Food Bank)
May 10, 2018

PENDLETON, Ore. — This weekend, Oregonians and people across the nation will fight hunger at their mailboxes.

On Saturday, people can leave nonperishable food items in bags or boxes near their mailboxes and their local letter carriers will pick them up. Stamp Out Hunger, now in its 26th year, is the country's largest single-day food drive of the year.

Kevin McKinstry is a letter carrier and head of his local branch in Pendleton. He said the extra work for carriers is some of the most fulfilling work of the year.

"It's just a great outpouring,” McKinstry said. “And it's awesome to just drive up to mailboxes or walk to mailboxes and see that bag of food sitting at the box and waiting for us to take."

The National Association of Letter Carriers partners with food banks on the drive.

According to Oregon food bank, more than 550,000 Oregonians are not sure where their next meal is coming from, or are considered "food insecure." Nearly 200,000 of those are children.

Tori Bowman is the food and nutrition program manager for the Community Action Program of East Central Oregon, which has food banks in Umatilla, Morrow, Gilliam and Wheeler counties. She said the Stamp Out Hunger drive helps pantries make it through the summer months when there is a lull in donations.

Bowman also noted that the drive and food banks are especially important for rural parts of the state, where access to food is an issue.

"That may mean that there's one grocery store in 100 miles,” Bowman said. “Or it might mean there's no grocery store and there's just a little mini-mart you can stop at and get a bag of chips or, you know, a hot dog off that roller cart or something like that."

Bowman said last year's drive in Oregon and Clark County, Wash., brought in 1 million pounds of food. They're upping the goal this year to 1.2 million pounds.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR