This week in history: The Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive

The Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is a charitable initiative conducted by the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) in the United States to make significant donations of food to organizations serving hungry people. This year the food drive takes place on Saturday, May 14.

The Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive started in October 1991 as a pilot program, the initial drive taking place in ten cities across the country. After receiving input from food banks and pantries, the NALC decided that the best time of year for this food drive would be in the late spring. Most food banks start running out of food this time of year due to the largest donations being made around Thanksgiving and Christmas.

A revamped food drive was organized for May 15, 1993, which was the second Saturday in May. The goal for the organization was originally to have at least one NALC branch participate from each of the 50 states. The first year of the nationwide effort collected over 11 million pounds of food, which was a one-day record in the U.S. On that day more than 220 union branches covering more than 1,000 communities participated. In 2010, 77.1 million pounds of food were collected, which helped the food drive surpass the 1 billion pound mark in total food collected over its history.

Every year on the second Saturday of May mail carriers both deliver mail and collect food donations. The Stamp Out Hunger effort is the largest single-day food drive in the U.S. There have been at least eight consecutive years of collecting more than 70 million pounds of food in one day. The NALC food drive has received two Presidential Certificates of Achievement.

The Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive’s many supporters include the U.S. Postal Service, Campbell Soup Co., Cox Target Media, United Food & Commercial Workers, Valpak, the National Rural Letter Carriers Association, the Feeding America food bank network, the United Way of America and its local United Ways, the AFL-CIO Community Services network, Uncle Bob’s Self Storage, and AARP.

The food drive takes donations of nonperishable foods in non-breakable containers such as cereals, dry milk, cereal bars, baby formula, canned fruit, canned vegetables, canned meats and fish, boxed or canned juices, canned soups, peanut butter, boxed instant food, pasta/boxed pasta, boxed rice and dried beans. Donors leave their contributions to the drive by their mailboxes in paper or plastic bags.

The NALC link is here. Be sure to check out the moving video there about hunger in America. Shockingly, in the richest country that ever existed in history, at least one in six Americans faces food insecurity each year. The official Facebook page can be seen here:

Sources: NALC, Wikipedia.


Special to People’s World
Special to People’s World

People’s World is a voice for progressive change and socialism in the United States. It provides news and analysis of, by, and for the labor and democratic movements to our readers across the country and around the world. People’s World traces its lineage to the Daily Worker newspaper, founded by communists, socialists, union members, and other activists in Chicago in 1924.