Letter Carriers’ ‘Stamp Out Hunger’ Food Drive
The 25th annual Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger® Food Drive
—Saturday, May 13, 2017—
Food Drive Tool Kit | Food Drive Coordinator's Database
Specific questions regarding the Food Drive should be directed to NALC Director of Community Services Pam Donato at 202-662-2489 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The annual Letter Carriers' Food Drive held last month produced record-breaking results!
The National Association of Letter Carriers announced today that the 24th annual Stamp Out Hunger® Food Drive, held on Saturday, May 14, collected more than 80 million pounds of food, well above the previous record of 77 million pounds.
And the food drive now has surpassed 1.5 billion pounds since it began in 1993.
“These results are gratifying, because they mean that even more people will be helped,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said. “As letter carriers, we are honored to be able to assist people in need. On a daily basis we see the struggles in the communities we serve, and we believe it's important to do all we can to help.
“None of this would be possible without the generosity of residents throughout the country,” Rolando added.
He also praised the organizations that help with the effort: U.S. Postal Service, National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association (NRLCA), United Way Worldwide, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), AFL-CIO, Valpak and Valassis.
Hunger affects about 50 million people around the country, including millions of children, senior citizens and veterans.
The nation's largest single-day food drive, the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is held each year on the second Saturday each May in 10,000 cities and towns in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam.
It provides residents with an easy way to donate food to those in need in the community. Customers simply leave their donation of non-perishable goods next to their mailbox before the delivery of the mail that Saturday. Letter carriers collect the non-perishable food donations on that day as they deliver mail along their postal routes, and distribute them to local food banks, pantries and shelters.
For a spreadsheet containing information on collected food amounts by city or to compile state totals, click here.
A full report appears in The Postal Record.
Thank you for helping to Stamp Out Hunger
Thank you for your generous participation in the 24th annual national Letter Carriers' #StampOutHunger Food Drive!
Special thanks to our national partners: US Postal Service, the National Rural Letter Carriers' Association, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, the United Way Worldwide, the AFL-CIO, Valpak and Valassis.
Thanks also to the APWU - The American Postal Workers Union, Jobs With Justice, Union Plus and Amp Your Good, along with many other AFL-CIO affiliates and other labor organizations.
A full report appears in The Postal Record.
Letter carriers deliver food, hope during 24th national Stamp Out Hunger drive
May 16, 2016: For the 24th year in a row, letter carriers across the United States could be counted on to display concern, compassion and commitment to their postal customers—and to the communities in which they work and live—by participating on Saturday, May 14, in the Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger® Food Drive, the nation’s largest one-day food collection effort.
“It is gratifying to see so many NALC members and other volunteers sacrifice their time and energy to make sure this humanitarian effort is a success, year after year,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said. “I’m sure that the recipients of our efforts appreciate it.”
Branch food drive coordinators and participants in most of the 10,000 cities and towns taking part in the drive had their local organizing efforts boosted by generally good weather. Even the cooler-than-normal temperatures in the country’s northern and eastern sections did little to chill the spirits of participating letter carriers and their family members, friends and countless volunteer food drive helpers.
At this point, many branch collection results forms are on their way to NALC Headquarters. But there are lots of other branches that were simply swamped by the overwhelming generosity of postal customers, and coordinators in those places are still busily calculating just how much non-perishable food had been donated.
Still others could be counted on to be continuing to collect bags of food on the Monday after the drive’s official second Saturday in May. For a variety of reasons, countless postal patrons each year miss their letter carrier’s pickup on the second Saturday in May. But they could still be assured that their donations would make their way to a local food bank the next time the carrier stopped by their mailboxes.
As totals were tabulated, local and regional food drive coordinators across America were optimistic that the 2016 drive’s national total would exceed last year’s figure of 71 million pounds, worth an estimated $150 million. (From the national drive’s beginning in 1992 through last year, the drive had collected more than 1.4 billion pounds of food.)
“It’s too early to tell what the final results will be,” NALC Community Service and Outreach Coordinator Pam Donato said, “but it’s never too early to hope for the best.”
Donato said that a number of factors were making her think positively.
“For one thing, every address in the country got a reminder postcard,” she said, “thanks to our partnership this year with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.”
UFCW’s volunteers, Donato added, recruited by countless thousands of that union’s 1.7 million members, helped make food collection efforts a little easier.
A concerted social media campaign designed to get the attention of the tens of thousands of followers of the Stamp Out Hunger Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts also helped spread the food drive message far and wide. And more than 1.2 million social media users saw that message through the special online flash-mob campaign via the Thunderclap service.
“The other national partners really stepped up, too,” Donato said, whether it was with a well-placed blog post by the AFL-CIO, near-constant tweets from Valpak on the endlessly scrolling Twitter platform, Facebook posts from USPS, or any of a variety of other types of outreach efforts by United Way Worldwide and its local affiliates, by the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association and by Valassis.
Food drive friends such as the American Postal Workers Union, The Salvation Army, Jobs With Justice and Union Plus lent an invaluable hand, too, in getting out the good word about the food drive, she said.
“It wasn’t hard to find evidence that there was some sort of national charity effort under way on Saturday, May 14,” Donato said, “and in plenty of locales across the country, you could easily catch sight of Jeff Keane’s Family Circus food drive art in post offices and countless other venues.”
Many news media outlets reported on the drive—before, during and after Saturday, May 14.
Scottsbluff, NE Branch 1836 letter carrier Randy Wallerich told The Star Herald that nobody in this country should have to go without food.
“I spent 31 years in military as an enlisted man,” Wallerich said, “and it was difficult to make ends meet, so my wife and I had to go to food banks for food.”
Columbus, GA Branch 546 President James Cadien told WRBL-TV that one of the reasons he looks forward to the yearly food drive is that he also has seen the consequences of hunger firsthand—for him, it was an elderly customer who was forced to make a choice: pay for food, pay bills or buy medicine.
“She was passed out on the floor from a lack of nutrition,” Cadien said. “Ever since then, it’s meant a lot to me.”
In a commentary in Canton, OH’s The Repository, author William Lambers called hunger “a silent crisis in America.
“The National Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is critical for keeping emergency pantries stocked,” Lambers wrote. “In addition, when summer comes many children lose access to the free school lunch program.”
In Hartford, CT, United Labor Agency Community Services Coordinator Greg Vavrek said that drives such as Stamp Out Hunger “are very important to helping our community, our children, our vets, our families that live just down the street or right next to us.”
Roadrunner Food Bank’s Julie Anderson told Albuquerque, NM’s KOB-TV, “We use all of the food that we get from this food drive to help sustain us over the summer, because, as everyone says, hunger does not take a vacation.”
Mandy Lown, assistant director for Carthage, MO’s Crosslines Ministries, called the letter carriers of Southwest Missouri Branch 366 “amazing.”
“Last year, we had rainy weather,” Lown said, “and some workers brought in hundreds of donations—they had to make two trips. The workers do an awesome job. We are blessed to have such a post office like ours.”
And despite rain in some areas of Hawaii, Aiea-Pearl City Branch 4682 Food Drive coordinator Adele Yoshikawa told KHON-TV that many postal customers still left bags of canned and packaged food by their mailboxes—food that was then sorted by volunteers along with friends and family members of letter carriers.
“Every year, we always hope and expect to beat last year’s total,” Yoshikawa said.
Thank you, and you, and you!
By Community and Membership Outreach Coordinator Pam Donato
If you participated in this year’s Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger® Food Drive, I hope you’ve had a chance to take a deep breath, put your tired feet up and enjoy a glass of your favorite cheer. You’ve earned the rest—and you’ve earned the feeling of accomplishment that comes from being a part of the largest food drive in the world.
We’re still counting up the donations made by postal customers to the thousands of food pantries and agencies across the country, but one thing’s already confirmed—letter carriers have done a fantastic job again this year. Please know that your incredible work on Saturday, May 14, has made a big difference for the millions of people who will have access to good meals as a result of your work. Helping to fill a basic human need for someone else in need is always the right thing to do, and I hope your generosity comes back to you, tenfold.
Before we close the book on our 2016 food drive, make sure you check off these final three tasks:
1. Help count all donations.
- This includes all donations, to little food shelves and church food pantries as well as to large food banks.
- Include the residual food collected in the days following the drive.
- Don’t forget to figure in, and report, any money that was donated.
- Add in any corporate or business donations, including matching contributions.
- If you’ve already submitted your final results form and you realize that additional food or money needs to be added to it, just submit a new form—with the updated total—through your national business agent or your state’s food drive coordinator
2. Thank your local partners, your fellow letter carriers and other postal employees, your customers and your community.
- For local partners and supporting businesses, a certificate of appreciation makes a great wall hanging in their lobby. (Find the certificate template under “Certificates” via the tool kit.)
- A thank-you letter also is a nice personal touch.
- Letter carriers and postal employees always appreciate rolls or donuts. See if your branch and your postmaster are willing to split the cost of this simple celebration.
- Follow up with any reporters who covered the food drive; provide them with collection totals for your branch or community.
- Call radio stations, write letters to the editor of your local newspaper, and post your pounds collected and thank-you’s on any food drive posters displayed around town.
- Every letter carrier should say thank you to every customer they see on their routes. Even if they didn’t leave a donation, your thank-you might inspire them to do so next year. (It’s on Saturday, May 13, 2017, for those already looking forward.)
- People like to know that what they did on Food Drive Day mattered and was appreciated. Local food agencies can be wonderful partners for joining us in our community thank-you’s; ask them along for this important task.
3. Make a list now of what worked well, of what went wrong, and of things you need to help your food drive effort improve in 2017.
- The best time to take stock of your event and to evaluate it is while its details are still fresh in your mind.
- From filling out the registration form through counting all of the donations, what worked well? Who provided help? What communications were effective? Were there problems with your postcards or bags? What did you need? Who were your good contacts? What can NALC Headquarters help you with?
- Make a list: “Good,” “Bad,” and “Still need.”
Come August, we’ll start our work for 2017—which is the 25th anniversary of the Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive. That’s a quarter century—and you’re still looking fabulous!
- Food Drive Home Page
- Food Drive Tool Kit
- Food Drive History
- Food Drive Coordinator's Database
Frequently Asked Questions (and answers)
Thank you for your interest and enthusiasm for the Letter Carriers’ Food Drive! Here are some answers to some frequently asked questions.
Hard work + sacrifice = great rewards
Our goal is to help restock community food banks, pantries and shelters for needy families throughout the summer, and to build upon the millions of pounds of non-perishable food collected since 1992 from millions of generous postal customers.
2016 Food Drive: Into the final turn
As we approach the last few days before our Stamp Out Hunger® Food Drive on Saturday, May 14, NALC’s Pam Donato highlights things everyone can still do to promote awareness and substantially increase food collections for local food agencies.
2016 Food Drive video: The story behind the story
Each year, NALC produces a video with an eye toward motivating letter carriers and providing a rallying point for working for our food drive. This year’s video has a simple message: The folks we help with the food we collect are folks we all know.
Partnerships are crucial to food drive’s success
From the March 2016 Postal Record
Letter carriers, start your Food Drive engines!
From the January 2016 Postal Record, by Community and Membership Outreach Coordinator Pam Donato
UFCW joins Food Drive as national sponsor
NALC is pleased to announce that United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) has signed on as a national partner for the 24th annual Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive on Saturday, May 14.
There’s something for everyone
From the December 2015 Postal Record, by Community and Membership Outreach Coordinator Pam Donato
Successful results for letter carriers’ annual food drive
The 2015 Letter Carrier' Food Drive: Another superb effort helps Americans and communities