31st annual Stamp Out Hunger drive this Saturday

Published 9:43 am Friday, May 10, 2024

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 The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) of Austin will be holding its 31st annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive this Saturday. 

The drive will be held in conjunction with the 32nd national carrier food drive conducted each year the second Saturday in May. Carriers will be delivering bags donated by Jim’s Market Place the week of the food drive. 

 In the past 32 years, letter carriers have collected 1.9 billion pounds of food nationally to help  feed the hungry. In 2023, Austin area letter carriers collected food and financial donations equaling  over 20,000 pounds of food.  

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Carriers ask residents of Austin and the surrounding area to place nonperishable food items in  bags near their mailboxes for a carrier or volunteer to pick up on May 11. The donations are then  delivered to the local food shelf. In Austin, it’s the Salvation Army. To ensure all food donated is  collected, they ask residents to have their food out at the mailbox by 9:00 am. However, if that is  inconvenient or if they forget, carriers will collect the food whenever residents get it out, including the  Friday before or Monday after. This is a rain or shine event. Donations can also be left at the  Salvation Army or the Post Office. Monetary gifts are accepted but checks should be made out to the  Salvation Army. Residents can donate directly to the Austin food shelf using https:// centralusa.salvationarmy.org/northern/austin/.  

Residents in rural areas should check with their local post office on how to donate. Food drives  are also being held in Rochester and Albert Lea.  

All food donated stays within local food shelves.

Lori Espe, food shelf director at the Austin Salvation Army, said the items most needed include:  canned beans, canned fruits and vegetables, canned meat, peanut butter, mac and cheese, cereals, rice, pasta and soups.  

The Hometown Food Security Project reported that Mower Countyʼs food insecurity rate is 8.4%. The state average was 6%  in 2020. 1 in 7 kids are food insecure in Mower County. The  elderly are another group susceptible to food insecurity. It is estimated that in Mower County over 24% of the population is over the age of 60. SNAP benefits have recently been reduced  and inflation has made healthy food more difficult to afford even  for working families. 

The two most vulnerable groups in America and Mower County for food insecurity are children and  the elderly. Those struggling to make ends meet tend to buy the cheapest least healthy food to  stretch their income making healthy donations to food shelves vitally important