For the past 30 years across America — and nearly a half century in Arizona — Unites States Postal Service letter carriers have used the second Saturday in May to give back to their communities: Using their mail trucks to conduct the largest single-day food drive in the world.
But for the past two years, as with so many things in our day-to-day lives, Stamp Out Hunger was put on hold due to the COVID pandemic.
More than 140 million pounds of food that annually gave food banks around the United States a head start into the summer months disappeared. The impact was felt everywhere.
The good news? Stamp Out Hunger is back for 2022. And here’s where you come in.
To participate, please leave a bag of nonperishable food at your mailbox on Saturday, May 14, before your mail normally arrives. Your letter carrier will do the rest, taking the food back to the post office where food bank trucks will be waiting for your donation.
They will put a thank you card into the mailbox to let you know your food is on the way to a family in need.
With inflation sending food, gas and rent prices soaring and families teetering on the brink of disaster over the edge, St. Mary’s and food banks around the state of Arizona are asking you to help make a difference.
United Food Bank, St. Vincent de Paul, Desert Mission Food Bank and a host of smaller food banks and pantries will also benefit from your generosity.
Without Stamp Out Hunger drives in 2020 and 2021, St. Mary’s lost nearly 1 million pounds of food at a critical time of the year. Kids who receive breakfast and lunch in school are now home for the summer, adding to costs for families at a time when food prices have skyrocketed.
This drive has a special place in the heart of St. Mary’s and letter carriers in Arizona. In the early 1970s, a group of letter carriers in West Phoenix and Glendale decided to give up their Sunday and asked people to leave food on their doorsteps on Mother’s Day.
They used their own vehicles and family members to collect the donations for St. Mary’s, a tradition that continued until the USPS took Stamp Out Hunger national in 1990.
Your role is so simple, yet so important.
You may see a reminder card and a plastic bag in your mailbox this week. You can use that bag for your donation if you wish but any bag of any size will do.
This is a great time to clean out your pantry for the spring or the garage if you stocked up on canned food during COVID. This is a simple way to help people in need without leaving your driveway!
We have all been through so much in the past two years. But what has stayed strong is the compassion we have for our fellow man and the desire to give back to those who need a helping hand.
Please remember Stamp Out Hunger on Saturday, May 14, and thank your letter carrier for all their hard work that day.
Editor’s note: Jerry Brown is director of public relations at St. Mary’s Food Bank. Visit firstfoodbank.org.
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