The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Food Drive is the largest one-day food drive in the United States. It is the outgrowth of a tradition of community service exhibited repeatedly by members of the letter carriers union over the years. Initially, a number of branches had collected food for those in need as part of their community service efforts.
The national, coordinated effort by the NALC to help fight hunger in America grew out of discussions by a number of leaders at the time, and it proved so successful that work began immediately on making it a nationwide effort.
Input from food banks and pantries suggested that late spring would be the best time to conduct a national food drive, since by then, most food banks in the country start running out of donations received during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
Therefore, it was decided that the drive would be held annually on the second Saturday in May. More than 11 million pounds of food was collected the first year—a one-day record in the United States—involving more than 220 union branches. From Alaska to Florida and Maine to Hawaii, letter carriers did double duty—delivering mail and picking up donations.
The NALC Food Drive conducted by the letter carriers throughout New London County, called “Stamp Out Hunger,” continues to benefit the Gemma E. Moran United Way/Labor Food Center each year during a time when donations are typically slow and the shelves are increasingly empty.
You can help those in our community facing hunger by leaving nonperishable food items by your mailbox on Saturday, May 14. Your letter carrier will pick up the donation along their normal route. Afterwards, the food is delivered at sorted at the Food Center before being distributed to local emergency food programs.
Currently needed items at the Food Center include: pasta and sauce, cereal, baby food, granola bars, and crackers. Donations of foods that are whole grain rich and low in sodium are encouraged. In addition, it is requested that donations not be in glass containers or items that have expired.
Since 1988, the Gemma E. Moran United Way/Labor Food Center, a program of United Way of Southeastern Connecticut, has played a key role in providing one of the building blocks to a good quality of life by feeding food insecure individuals and families all across our community. The Food Center provides food and household items to more than 80 free emergency food assistance programs throughout New London County including shelters, food pantries, after-school programs, day care centers, community meal sites, and programs for seniors. Last year through its member programs and Mobile Food Pantry, the Food Center distributed the equivalent of 2.4 million meals and snacks, at no cost, to those in need throughout the community.
Monetary donations are also welcome. Thanks to the Food Center’s partnership with Connecticut Food Bank and Feeding America, a donation of just $1 can be leveraged towards the purchase of ten meals’ worth of food.
Donations to the Food Center can be made online by clicking here, and be sure to select the Food Center from the drop-down menu. And remember to “Stamp Out Hunger” on Saturday May 14 by leaving nonperishable food items at your mailbox!