Arkansans are encouraged to help stamp out hunger by leaving food donations for their postal carriers this Saturday.
Tyler Lindsey, communications director for the Arkansas Foodbank, said the National Association of Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, in its 22nd year, is the nation's largest, with about 74 million pounds of food collected last year.
“The Arkansas metro area collected 130,000 pounds” for the Arkansas Foodbank, Lindsey said, referring to the cities of Little Rock, North Little Rock and Sherwood. “This year we’re really pulling to get to 200,000."
The drive is statewide, but information on which letter carriers are participating is available by contacting the local post office, Lindsey said.
Food collected from areas outside of Little Rock, North Little Rock and Sherwood will be taken to the closest food bank or agency in the area.
Lindsey said there are six main food banks in Arkansas but 300 member agencies that partner with them such as churches with food pantries in smaller towns.
"[The Arkansas Foodbank] usually distributes the food out, but in smaller towns, we try to link up the drive to those [local] pantries. If you're getting 500 to 600 pounds of food in a small town, it's easier to take it straight to that pantry," Lindsey said.
Residents are encouraged to leave nonperishable food items for their letter carrier Saturday. Some letter carriers are placing information about the drive and bags for collecting food into mailboxes to encourage participation.
“It’s really the [easiest] food drive. All you have to do is take food out of your pantry,” he said.
Food can be left in or around mailboxes, and those living in apartments may leave food by their complex's cluster of mailboxes, Lindsey said.
The drive is the nation’s largest single-day food drive, held annually on the second Saturday in May in 10,000 cities and towns in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam, according to the Foodbank’s website.
More information about the National Association of Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is available at www.nalc.org.