The 300,000-member National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), which represents city delivery letter carriers in all 50 states and U.S. jurisdictions, conducts the world's largest one-day food drive each year on the second Saturday in May. Primary co-sponsors of the drive are the U.S. Postal Service, United Way, the AFL-CIO, and Feeding America.
In 2014, more than 48,000 pounds of food was collected in New London County. All post offices within the county participated in the drive. Nationally, the drive collected 74 million pounds of food and it was the tenth consecutive year above 70 million pounds.
The drive comes at a critical time when most food banks are experiencing depleted donations and food donated during the holiday seasons have diminished. With many residents still experiencing unemployment or the aftermath of natural disasters, the drive is essential to keeping local pantry shelves stocked.
Stamp Out Hunger began in 1991 when the NALC, with the support of the U.S. Postal Service and the AFL-CIO, conducted a ten-city pilot program as a first step in developing a coordinated, same-day nationwide food drive. More than 290 tons of food were collected in those ten cities. The drive was not held in 1992 as plans were developed to expand the effort nationwide. In 1993, the drive expanded to 200 NALC branches in all 50 states, covering more than 1,000 communities. A record 12 million pounds of non-perishable food donations were collected by city carriers, with help from their rural carrier counterparts. In 1994, United Way Worldwide was invited to become a full partner in this effort. The drive has flourised ever since, expanding the number of cities and towns involved to more than 10,000.
The simplicity and efficiency of the drive are what make it work. It is held annually on the second Saturday in May and promoted in a variety of ways including the distribution of millions of postcards and bags, jointly provided by The Campbell Soup Company and Valpak, delivered to homes in participating communities just prior to the drive to encourage donations. Food donations are collected by the letter carriers along their usual mail routes that Saturday, and all food collected is then delivered to a local food center for distribution by union volunteers.