The 30th annual National Association of Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive will take place Saturday.

In partnership with local food pantries across America as well as the AFL-CIO, Kellogg’s, the National Rural Letter Carriers Association, Valpak, CVS Health, the United Way and VERICAST, U.S. Postal Service letter carriers nationwide will be collecting nonperishable food donated by customers along their delivery routes and delivering that food to their local food pantries.

This is the largest annual, single resupply effort for most food pantries.

Postcards promoting the food drive were delivered to every home this week nationwide.

The national, coordinated effort by the NALC to help fight hunger in America grew out of discussions in 1991 by a number of leaders at the time, including NALC President Vincent R. Sombrotto, AFL-CIO Community Services Director Joseph Velasquez and Postmaster General Anthony Frank. A pilot drive was held in 10 cities in October 1991, 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 since by then most food banks in the country start running out of donations received during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday periods.

A revamped drive was organized for May 15, 1993 — the second Saturday in May — with a goal of having at least one NALC branch in each of the 50 states participating. The result was astounding. More than 11 million pounds of food was collected — 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. It just grew and grew from that point.

In 2010, the food drive surpassed the 1 billion pound park in total food collected over its history.

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