WASHINGTON —The Letter Carriers are preparing for your generosity, expressed through their annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive, scheduled for May 13.
That day, on postal routes and at post offices, they’ll collect boxes and bags of non-perishable food from generous customers to be sorted and redistributed at local pantries, shelters, charities and similar sources of food for the needy. It’s the nation’s largest one-day food drive.
New Letter Carriers President Brian Renfroe, in a video on the union’s website, www.nalc.org says donations are still vital. And warnings from the pantries—who by now have exhausted their winter donations—back him up. The NALC’s Stamp Out Hunger drive gives them the food they need for the hungry through the summer.
“More than 34 million Americans, including nine million children, experience food insecurity and they rely on food donations,” says Renfroe. “Every year the food drive provides us all with a unique opportunity to come together with a common goal: To give to those who are struggling to feed their families.
“When you participate in the Stamp Out Hunger food drive, the food you donate stays in your community and goes to local food banks. Participating is easy: Simply leave a bag of nonperishable food next to your mail box on Saturday, May 13 and your Letter Carrier will handle the rest. Together we can Stamp Our Hunger in America.”
And even though the coronavirus pandemic is receding, the need is still there, according to the Food Research and Action Center, a non-partisan group that lobbies for federal food programs.
That’s because special programs and funding instituted to curb hunger during the pandemic have ceased. In some cases, even regular federal food subsidies, such as food stamps, were cut, too, on April 1. And the official proclamation of a national emergency to deal with the pandemic expired days before this year’s Stamp Out Hunger food drive.
FRAC reports that as kids headed back to actual schools after pandemic restrictions and school closures ended, participation rose in the free school breakfast and lunch programs for the kids from the poorest families.
In the 2021-22 school year, FRAC said, 15.5 million kids got free breakfasts at school, and 29.9 million got free lunches, too. Both figures are slightly above pre-pandemic levels. So are the numbers of breakfasts that year—1.5 billion—and lunches, 2.4 billion. “Congress must build on this lesson learned and make healthy meals available” year-round, said FRAC President Luis Guardia.
But it doesn’t and that’s where the NALC food drive steps in.
In the summer, the schools close, and the NALC Stamp Out Hunger food drive’s donated food to pantries, shelters and food banks fills in the gap. However, the House’s ruling Republicans don’t want to do so. Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said April 17 their budget plan would include cuts in food stamps, Medicaid and social programs—such as federal school lunch aid.
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