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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” tomorrow. Letter carriers will be collecting nonperishable food donations as they deliver mail along their postal routes. Items such as juice, peanut butter, jellies and jams, soup, coffee, cereal, canned meats, vegetables and pasta will be collected in order to help families in need in our communities. This is the largest and most important food drive of the year for Loaves & Fishes.

Fredric Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, explained why this drive is so important. “Since food pantries and other service organizations are pretty much tapped out by the time our drive rolls around,” Rolando said, “this infusion of food comes at just the right time.” In fact, the second Saturday in May was specifically chosen for the annual event. By that time, pantry shelves filled up through winter-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.”

The upcoming summer months are a particularly critical time for millions of 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 & 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 nine 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 through the summer months with food collected from the Letter Carriers’ Food Drive this year. Our client base has soared in recent years, reaching more than 900 families a month. More than 30 percent of our clients are under 18 or over 60, and having plentiful, nutritious food is essential for their well-being. We are asking everyone to be as generous and supportive this year as you can.

You can help simply by placing your food donation in a bag and leaving it at your mailbox before your letter carrier arrives, or by bringing it directly to your post office. It will be delivered to the pantry the same day by a multitude of 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 us receive, date-check, sort and box food at the pantry that day, call 978-772-4627, email, or visit These are our neighbors and friends. Please help them out!