Letter Carriers’ Food Drive Seeks to Stamp Out Hunger

May 8, 2013, 8:44 AM HST · Updated May 8, 8:46 AM
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Maui Food Bank. File photo by Wendy Osher.

Maui Food Bank. File photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

The US Postal Service will be collecting food donations this Saturday, May 11, as part of its annual effort to “Stamp Out Hunger.”

An estimated 175,000 mail carriers across the nation will participate in the upcoming 21st annual National Association of Letter Carriers’ Food Drive.  The USPS says the drive is the nation’s largest one-day effort to combat hunger.

Last year, USPS officials say more than 37,000 pounds of food was collected here on Maui out of the 213 tons collected statewide.

Maui Food Bank. File photo by Wendy Osher.

Maui Food Bank. File photo by Wendy Osher.

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More than 9,000 pounds of that was reportedly contributed by donations collected by the Wailuku Post Office.

“Our goal in Hawaiʻi is to top last year’s totals, but we’ll be happy to collect any amount of food,” said Adele Yoshikawa, Pearl City Carrier and NALC Food Drive Co-Coordinator in a press release.

Yoshikawa attributed a 13% drop in donations last year to a poor economy, saying that while donations decreased, the quality of donations actually improved.

Residents wishing to participate are asked to place non-perishable food items next to their mailbox for pickup on May 11 before their usual mail pickup time.  Food donation bags are also being dropped off to homes to assist with the collection effort.

Maui Food Bank. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Maui Food Bank. Photo by Wendy Osher.

The most desired food donations identified by network officials includes the following: canned meats or tuna, canned meals such as chili, stew or spaghetti, canned soups, and canned fruits and vegetables.

“The NALC Food Drive is a big help because it always results in a lot of canned protein items, which are our ‘Most Wanted’ items,” said Mike Kajiwara, Hawaii Foodbank Director of Product Donations.

According to information released by the USPS, there are more than 183,500 people, including 55,000 children, that receive emergency food distribution through the food bank network in Hawaiʻi.  That translates to about 14% of the state’s population.

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