Every second Saturday in May, letter carriers in more than 10,000 cities and towns across America collect more than just mail; they collect donations from their postal customers who are helping feed their neighbors in need. This effort, the Stamp Out Hunger National Food Drive, is the largest one-day food drive in the nation. Led by letter carriers represented by the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), with help from rural letter carriers, other postal employees and volunteers, the drive has delivered more than one billion pounds of food the past 24 years.
This year, the drive will take place on May 14, and in order to jump-start the food donations in the greater Norfolk, Va., market, Food Lion made a 10,000-meal donation to the Food Bank of Southeastern Virginia (SEVA) and the Eastern Shore in hopes that our gift would inspire generosity in others come pick-up time.
Ben Gould, Food Lion Director of Operations for the Norfolk area, spoke at the donation event about what it means to Food Lion to have the honor of partnering with such an honorable cause.
"At Food Lion, we have a saying. People shouldn't have to choose between rent and a meal. They shouldn't have to choose between gas and groceries. We have 58 stores here in the greater Norfolk area. At each and every one of those stores and throughout Food Lion, we have a mission to stop hunger," said Gould. "Thanks for letting us serve as a partner. Thank you for all that you're doing. We're excited to be a part of this initiative."
The Food Bank of SEVA's CEO Ruth Jones Nichols spoke on behalf of the food bank in thanking its partners, including the NALC who spearheads the event and collects donations, the United States Postal Service, represented by 25 stations across Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Smithfield, Portsmouth and Suffolk, Va., United Way, who sponsored the supplies for the food drive this year, and Food Lion for our donation as well as for providing collecting points at all of our greater Chesapeake, Virginia Beach and Norfolk-area stores.
"It's wonderful to celebrate a collaborative effort that will address the needs of individuals in our community who are experiencing hunger and food insecurity," said Nichols. "We can't do this work alone. I want acknowledge our partners and the folks that do this day to day, our staff. With 49 million people facing hunger in America and 16 million of which being children, we desperately depend on drives like these to meet the needs of these individuals."
Post Master Bobby Shaw and United Way's Community Services Liaison Tanya Canty also each gave remarks before the Food Lion truck was ceremoniously unloaded with 10,000 meals-worth of food for the food bank to distribute to its clients.
What to participate? It's easy!
This Saturday, May 14, simply leave out nonperishable food items by your mailbox or in your mailbox, and postal workers will pick it up along with their mail to donate to the Food Bank. If you aren't able to leave it outside, you may drop it off at your nearest post office or at any of the 58 Food Lion stores in the greater Chesapeake, Virginia Beach and Norfolk, Va.
Thanks for helping us Stamp Out Hunger!