Saturday is the 26th Annual "Stamp Out Hunger" food drive.
Letter carriers with the United States Postal Service spent Saturday doing double duty, delivering mail and collecting donations. Carriers collect these and bring them back to local pantries, where food is sorted and goes back to needy families in the communities it came from. Mail carriers and volunteers will collect the food left along their routes and it will then be donated to local food pantries.
The enormous effort encourages people to leave donations of non-perishable goods next to their mailbox for pick-up. That day was Saturday during the Stamp Out Hunger food drive.
"We volunteer to help stock up the food banks in the area", Jeff Wills, labor council vice president, said.
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While all non-perishable donations are welcome, foods that are high in protein such as canned tuna, salmon, beans, and peanut butter are most needed.
"So, the food you're donating actually stays in the Central Valley", said Maria Ayala, program supervisor for the Community Food Bank. This year they hope to surpass that. The drive helps restock food bank shelves after the holiday season.
"It means a lot to them and it puts food in the kids bellies", New Horizons Volunteer Coordinator Maddie Smith said. It had it's greatest success in 2016, where NALC branches collected over 80 million pounds of food for a grand cumulative total of 1.5 billion pounds over the history of the drive. The goal is to make significant donations of food to organizations serving people in need.
"Usually we are getting between 40,000 and 60,000 pounds of food", said Raymond. Healthy low-sodium, low-sugar items such as oatmeal, other whole grains and canola or olive oil will also be accepted.