The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) has announced that the nation’s largest food drive to combat hunger will be conducted this year on Saturday, May 9. On that day, letter carriers will collect non-perishable donations from homes as they deliver mail along their postal routes.

The 17th annual NALC National Food Drive to “Stamp Out Hunger” is the largest one-day food drive in the nation. Carriers collected a record 73.1 million pounds of food in last year’s drive. The drive is held annually on the second Saturday in May in over 10,000 cities and towns in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

Donations will be collected by more than 1,400 local branches of the 300,000-member postal union and delivered to food banks, pantries and shelters that serve the communities where they are collected. Assisting in the effort are rural letter carriers and other postal employees, as well as members of other unions and thousands of civic volunteers.

NALC President William H. Young emphasized that as successful as the food drive has been in the past, it simply must be even better this year.

“Millions and millions of families are suffering – struggling to make ends meet and put food on the table,” Young said. “More than ever food banks, pantries and shelters need our help this year. As families count on them for support, they’re counting on us and we must not back off on our commitment.”

Young also noted that donations are particularly critical at this time since most school lunch programs are suspended during the summer months and millions of children must find alternate sources of nutrition.

In New York City and Chicago, where transportation limitations preclude mailbox pickup, citizens are being asked to take donations to their local post offices between May 4 and 9.

Persons who have any questions about the drive at their location should ask their letter carrier or contact their local post office.

Over 125 million postcards, sponsored by the Campbell Soup Company and the U.S. Postal Service’s Priority Mail, will be mailed to postal customers to remind them of the drive.

Public Service Announcements featuring movie and television stars David Arquette and Courteney Cox, as well as the Harlem Globetrotters, are being made available throughout the country. Valpak Direct Marketing Systems is focusing 40 million of its envelopes on encouraging food donations and Valassis is having 85 million of its mail-delivered Red Plum wraps include promotions for the drive.

Other co-sponsors of the drive with the letter carriers’ union are Feeding America, formerly known as America’s Second Harvest, the nation’s food bank network; the United Way of America and its local United Ways; and the AFL-CIO.

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