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High Rates of Food-Insecurity Call for Much Needed Community Support

FORT PIERCE, April 29, 2015 – Letter carriers across the Treasure Coast are preparing for the annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive by encouraging the community to get involved by donating non-perishable food items on Saturday, May 9. Hosted each year by the National Association of Letter Carriers, it’s the largest single-day food drive in the country and helps Feeding America and its network of local food banks help the one in six Americans who struggle with hunger.

Treasure Coast Food Bank staff met the letter carriers at area branches this week to say “thank you” for their efforts and share the impact that Stamp Out Hunger has on the local community.

“Our recent report from Map the Meal Gap shows that more than 100,000 people, or 16.5 percent of the population on the Treasure Coast, don’t know where their next meal is coming from,” said Director of Community Relations Gary Porter. “Stamp Out Hunger plays a huge role in helping Treasure Coast Food Bank provide for those individuals. Last year, Stamp Out Hunger provided us with enough food for 125,000 meals.”

Soon, letter carriers will be delivering to each mail box specially marked bags supplied by Publix for the annual food drive. And from 1 to 3 pm on Thursday, May 7, letter carriers and community leaders will join Treasure Coast Food Bank for a kick-off at First Baptist Church of Jensen Beach. The event will include a Mobile Distribution of food to area families.

“Stamp Out Hunger is extremely important to us, our partners, and the 100,000plus individuals who rely on our network for food each week,” said Treasure Coast Food Bank CEO Judy Cruz. “This food drive is a way for the entire community to participate together in an event that will help feed hungry families all summer long. The letter carriers do a tremendous job of collecting food along with delivering the mail during the event, and we are so grateful to work with them.”

Summer is a time of great need as donations typically decline at this time, and with schools closed, children who rely on the schools for low-cost meals add to the number of food-insecure.

On Saturday, May 9, everyone can participate by leaving non-perishable food items in the bags and placing the bags near their mailboxes. A letter carrier will collect the bags while delivering the mail. All food collected remains in the community from which it was collected.

The national event done in partnership with Feeding America, the national’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, brought in more than 70 million pounds of food in each of the previous two years.

“Hunger affects every community in the country,” said Fredric Rolando, NALC president. “At least six days a week, our letter carriers are a local touch point in communities everywhere and we are thrilled to be able to support our neighbors in need though the Stamp Out Hunger food drive.”

The Stamp Out Hunger food drive was created in 1993 by the National Association of Letter Carriers to encourage communities to come together in an effort to stock the shelves of food banks and pantries nationwide.  The event is held on the second Saturday of May each year.

The Stamp Out Hunger food drive is held in 10,000 cities and towns in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam. Last year, letter carriers collected over 70 million pounds of food donations to be donated to their local food bank and pantries.

The United States Postal Service, AFL-CIO, National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, United Way, Valassis and Valpak are all supporting this year’s Stamp Out Hunger food drive.