Help 'Stamp Out Hunger'

(RELEASE) Chicago Letter Carriers to Help "Stamp Out Hunger" May 7-12 20th anniversary of world's largest one-day food drive

CHICAGO, IL - One in five Chicagoans doesn't know where his or her next meal will come from. And these people aren't just the long-term poor, but include many - more than one-third - who aren't eligible for federal assistance but are still struggling to get by.

Local food pantries do their best to close these gaps, but with thousands of youngsters facing the summer without school lunch programs, those resources will be strained. That's where the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive - the world's largest one-day food drive - comes in, to help make a difference when and where it matters most. Sat., May 12 marks the 20th anniversary of the national Food Drive. Over the years, more than one billion pounds of food have been collected nationwide.

Last year, Chicago letter carriers collected more than 167,000 pounds.

"The food drive is especially meaningful to letter carriers in Chicago because we started the idea here 30 years ago," said Mack Julion, NALC Branch 11 president. "Our members work in every neighborhood and see the need within various communities every day. I am hopeful that our customers will give from their heart and together we can help stamp out hunger! "

"We are proud to work with the NALC on the Food Drive," said Chicago District Manager/Postmaster Karen Schenck. "It's a great event every year, and an awesome way for us to help the community."

To participate in the 20th Stamp Out Hunger food drive, residents are encouraged to leave a sturdy bag containing non-perishable foods, such as canned soup, canned vegetables, pasta, rice or cereal next to their mailbox prior to the time of regular mail delivery on Saturday, May 12.

Letter carriers will collect these food donations as they deliver the mail and take them to their local food bank or pantry. Customers can also bring their donations to any Chicago Post Office beginning Monday, May 7. NALC Branch 11 will partner with local pantries and shelters to help stock their shelves with the donations (a complete list is attached). To make participation even easier, Chicago letter carriers will deliver free, eco-friendly grocery bags, courtesy of Food Drive co-sponsor AARP, to their customers during the week of April 30th.

"We are very appreciative of the assistance of the National Association of Letter Carriers," said Kate Maehr, executive director and CEO of the Greater Chicago Food Depository. "Letter carriers have shown a longtime dedication to addressing hunger in Chicago and across the country. Food from this drive will help thousands of people in our community who are struggling to make ends meet."

In addition to AARP, other Food Drive national co-sponsors include Campbell's Soup, Feeding America, Uncle Bob's Self-Storage, AFL-CIO, United Way, Valpak, International Paper/Kraft bags, and the U.S. Postal Service. Locally, Branch 11's partners include the Greater Chicago Food Depository and Blue Cross Blue Shield.

"The Salvation Army is pleased to partner with the National Association of Letter Carriers again this year to help Stamp Out Hunger," said Pamela Church-Pryor, community ministries director of The Salvation Army in Norridge. "Food insecurity continues to affect people in Cook County from city to suburbs. Decreasing dollars at all levels, plus increasing food and gas prices, keep food pantries such as The Salvation Army's busy and ever in need of food donation. Our food pantry shelves tend to be less stocked at this time of year, long after the generosity of the holidays has passed. The Stamp Out Hunger project is particularly timely and greatly appreciated as we seek to address food insecurity."

The U.S. Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

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