Letter carriers from around the country, in conjunction with the U.S. Postal Service, will be participating in the nation's largest one-day food drive effort to "Stamp Out Hunger" on Saturday, May 12. On that day, letter carriers will be collecting non-perishable food donations as they deliver mail along their postal routes.

For those who have a P.O. box simply bring your bag of food/toiletries to your local post office that morning. Items such as juice, peanut butter, jellies and jams, hearty soups, coffee, cereal, canned meats, vegetables and pasta will be collected in order to help families in need in our communities. This is the largest one-day food drive in the nation and the largest and most important food drive of the year for Loaves and Fishes.

Fredric Rolando, President of the National Association of Letter Carriers, explains why this drive is so important each year.

"The second Saturday in May is specifically chosen for this annual event as pantry shelves that are filled up through winter and holiday generosity are often bare or nearly so by late spring -- a sad reflection of the reality that widespread hunger in America is a tough problem to solve," he said. "The upcoming summer months are a particularly critical time for many children whose school lunch programs are suspended until fall; their families must find alternate sources of nutrition. Letter carriers see these families every day as they deliver their mail.



The need is critical at Loaves and Fishes, the largest food pantry in North Central Massachusetts, not only now but throughout the entire year. With the commitment of the postmasters and letter carriers throughout our eight postal communities to implement this food drive, combined with the generosity of postal patrons throughout our area, we will continue to make a significant difference in the lives of many local residents.

We hope that we can fill our shelves and have plenty of food in reserve to sustain us into the summer months with food collected from the Letter Carriers' Food Drive this year. The pantry's client base has soared in recent years, reaching over 900 families last year. Over 37 percent of clients are under 18 or over 65, and having plentiful, nutritious food is essential for their health and well being.

You can help simply by placing your food donation in a bag and leaving it at your mailbox on the morning of the 12th before your letter carrier arrives, or by bringing it directly to your Post Office. Food collected will be delivered directly to the pantry that same day by volunteers.

Please do not include out-of-date items or those in glass containers. If you have questions or would like to volunteer to help receive, date-check, sort and box food at the pantry that day, please call 978-772-4627, email tohelp@loavesfishespantry.org, or visit loavesfishespantry.org.