“Fill a Bag. Help Feed Families.” Our Saturday, May 13th Opportunity

Perhaps I’m telling you about something you already know—and may even be acting upon.

As I don’t look closely at what I assume to be junk mail, I’d never before noticed the colorful little post card that surely has been delivered any number of times in the past. It describes the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive.

The appeal—in English and Spanish—from the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) and several other groups, including the US Postal Service, requests contributions to our community food banks.

We are asked to fill a bag (or bags) with nonperishable food in non-glass containers—oatmeal, pasta, beans, fruits, vegetables, meat and sauce, tuna packed in water—and leave the bags in front of our mailboxes. Our letter carriers will pick them up and deliver them to the food banks in our communities.

WHEN? Saturday, May 13th. The food collection occurs every year on the second Saturday in May.

That May date is important: this is the time of year when food banks and food pantries typically run out of the food they’ve collected around Thanksgiving and Christmas time.

This food drive by the letter carriers union has been going on for years. It was a wake-up call to me to learn that it’s just one of many community services its members participate in:

“…whether it be collecting funds for a charity like the Muscular Dystrophy Association, watching over the elderly through the Carrier Alert program, assisting the American Red Cross during times of disaster, or rescuing victims of fires, crime, and other mishaps.”

In discussions begun in 1991, the NALC president, AFL-CIO community services director, and US Postmaster General decided to try a pilot project. Its success that October led to plans to make the effort national.

With the goal of having at least one NALC branch participating from each state, the 1993 drive was deemed “astounding”: more than 220 branches collected more than 11 million pounds of food.

“From Alaska to Florida and Maine to Hawaii, letter carriers did double duty—delivering mail and picking up donations. It just grew and grew from that point.”

According to some sources, 41 million people in the US—roughly 12% of our population—are struggling with hunger or food insecurity in our wealthy nation. And post-Covid cuts in food stamp increases are coinciding with inflation to squeeze families even harder.

I’m very glad that the NALC and its partner organizations are reaching out to us with this timely invitation to help members in our own communities who are worried how they’re going to feed their families.

It couldn’t be easier. We just put some canned goods into a bag and set it outside our doors tomorrow, Saturday, May 13th. Our letter carriers will do the rest.


PS: If you’re interested but missed the date, your local food assistance organizations will always welcome your donations.

And if you put out a bag that isn’t picked up tomorrow (not all communities may be participating), you have your donation ready to drop off at your community’s food bank next week.

18 thoughts on ““Fill a Bag. Help Feed Families.” Our Saturday, May 13th Opportunity

  1. Check your building’s lobby too. Our mail carrier left a box as well.

    (Side note: my community garden makes weekly donations to our local food bank so people can have fresh food, too. We are encouraged to grow a row for the hungry.)

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Had no idea. Will check it out locally. It’s astonishing what can happen with a simple idea and the energy to see it through.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, Sheree. I was just in my local post office and asked if this has been going on for years. It has—don’t know how I missed it.

      We always donate to the community food bank, but this stopgap measure seems especially valuable—particularly when the Republicans are seeking more cuts in benefits to those who need them most.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Scouting organizations do a similar program “Scouting for Food” in March usually and our high school band does one in the fall. It is community building and the kids enjoy contributing. The food banks everywhere are year round now. Thanks for the alert.

    Liked by 2 people

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