On Wednesday of this week, Judy Ragsdale from Rebecca’s Pantry (a ministry of Westside Baptist Church) joined Michael DelGiorno in the KPYN studio to tell us about the 25th annual Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, the nationwide and easiest food drive to be a part of happening this Saturday May 13th.
The National Association of Letter Carriers NALC and US Postal Service join together and will fan out across the nation to pick up donated food on doorsteps and beside mailboxes as they deliver the mail.
To participate in the Stamp Out Hunger food drive, residents are encouraged to leave a sturdy bag containing non-perishable foods (popular items include: canned vegetables and fruit, dried beans, rice and pasta, cereal, crackers, cake and cornbread mixes, peanut butter, and canned meats) next to their mailboxes prior to the time of regular mail delivery. Please, no glass, out of date or homemade items.
All food collected will stay local and be divided up between local food pantries including Rebecca’s Pantry. In the past Rebecca’s Pantry has received approximately 2-3 truckloads as a result of this food drive. This food drive comes at a very critical time when supplies donated in the fall during Thanksgiving and Christmas season begin to run low. School will also be out soon for the summer and families with children that receive school provided breakfast and lunches face the additional burden of providing meals during this time. Rebecca’s Pantry serves 50 families on average per week.
Judy concluded our interview with the scripture verse from Hebrews 6:10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.
Delivering community service
The Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger® Food Drive is the outgrowth of the National Association of Letter Carriers’ tradition of community service, a tradition exhibited repeatedly by members of the letter carriers’ union over the years. These carriers, who go into neighborhoods in every town at least six days a week, have always been involved when something needed to be done, whether it be collecting funds for a charity like the Muscular Dystrophy Association, watching over the elderly through the Carrier Alert program, assisting the American Red Cross during time of disaster, or rescuing victims of fires, crime, and other mishaps.
For many years, a number of NALC’s branches (locals) had collected food for the needy as part of their community service efforts.
A national, coordinated effort by the NALC to help fight hunger in America grew out of discussions in 1991 by a number of leaders at the time, including NALC President Vincent R. Sombrotto, AFL-CIO Community Services Director Joseph Velasquez and Postmaster General Anthony Frank. A pilot drive was held in 10 cities in October of 1991, and it proved so successful that work began immediately on making it a nationwide effort.
Input from food banks and pantries suggested that late spring would be the best time since by then most food banks in the country start running out of donations received during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday periods.
A revamped drive was organized for May 15, 1993 — the second Saturday in May — with a goal of having at least one NALC branch in each of the 50 states participating. The result was astounding: More than 220 union branches collected more than 11 million pounds of food—a one-day record in the United States.
From Alaska to Florida, from Maine to Hawaii, letter carriers did double duty on Food Drive Day—delivering mail and picking up donations. The Food Drive just grew and grew from that point.
In 2010, the food drive surpassed the 1 billion pound park in total food collected over its history.