The Hunger and Health Coalition and Local Letter Carriers Team Up to “Stamp Out Hunger”

Published Monday, May 6, 2013 at 4:59 pm

May 6, 2013. On Saturday, May 11, The Hunger & Health Coalition and Local Letter Carriers  are teaming up to “Stamp Out Hunger” in the High Country with the 21st  annual National Association of Letter Carriers Food Drive. The Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is the largest one day drive in the nation, with over 10,000 cities and towns participating.  Locally, post offices throughout the county will be working with rural letter carriers to collect bags of food to donate to the Food Pantry at the Hunger and Health Coalition. According to Compton Fortuna, HHC Executive Director, “2013 needs to be a record breaking year for the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive. The cost of food and gas are forcing hundreds of local families to visit the HHC so that they can keep food on their tables. As the prices of essentials continue to rise, families who never have asked for help find that they just can’t keep making ends meet. When that happens, the HHC is there.”

The rising cost of food impacts the HHC’s bottom line as well. According to Fortuna, “When the cost of food goes up, the amount of donated food goes down. We have been receiving fewer contributions from food drives, making it necessary to increase the amount of food purchased from resources like the Second Harvest Food Bank in Winston Salem. Right now, we are buying more food and paying more for it. A huge collection from this year’s Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive would make a huge difference – reducing the amount of food that must be purchased as well as making each box of food distributed more healthy and nutritious.”

Right now is a critical time for the HHC’s Food Pantry, already busy, they are preparing for the increased need that typically arrives with “summer vacation”. While many families diligently plan a trip to the beach or other activities, hundreds of local families worry about how they will feed their children throughout the summer. Each school age child home over the summer requires enough food for an additional 10 meals per week. According to Fortuna, “There are so many local children who depend on the breakfast and lunch provided at school every day. Too many children go home to empty cabinets and refrigerators and the situation worsens during the summer. The foods collected during the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive help to stock the Food Pantry over the summer months so that the children and families who need food can get help.”

The Hunger & Health Coalition operates six food assistance programs for low income residents in Watauga County. Donations from the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive support the Food Pantry program, which provides 50lbs. of food to local families. Families are able to come up to twice per month. In addition to the Food Pantry Program, the HHC operates programs which provide prepared meals, fresh produce and bread and healthy snacks for children.

Last year, Watauga County collected over 5,000 pounds of non perishable foods. Everyone is hoping that this year will be even more successful. According to Crystal Winebarger, HHC Director of Operations, the HHC is in need of more food donations.” The amount of food we can receive from Second harvest Food Bank has declined, at the same time, the need has risen. We are hoping the community will help fill the Food Pantry so that we can continue to feed local families.

Participating in the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive couldn’t be easier. On Saturday, May 11, simply hang a bag of non perishable food on your mail box or bring your donation to your local post office. Letter carriers and postal employees will work with volunteers to collect the food and deliver it to the Food Pantry at the Hunger & Health Coalition. The Hunger & Health Coalition is hopeful that 2013 will be the largest collection in local history. If you have questions or need more information, please call 262-1628 or contact via email at [email protected]

The Hunger & Health Coalition is a private, non profit 501©3 organization established in 1982, and had been actively serving the community for 29 years. Each month, the Hunger & Health Coalition provides an average of 1000 boxes of food which feeds an average of 2,500 people. One in every three fed is a child under 18 years of age. In addition, over 3,500 meals are repackaged and distributed, and an average of 1000 prescriptions are dispensed. The Hunger and Health Coalition is a member of the High Country United Way.

This initiative is part of a national collective effort to raise awareness and stamp out hunger everywhere. 

On Saturday, May 11, Campbell Soup Company will join forces with the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) to support Feeding America and help Stamp Out Hunger across America. Now in its 21st year, the annual food drive helps provide assistance to the millions of Americans struggling to put food on the table.

The Stamp Out Hunger food drive, held on the second Saturday in May, benefits Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. In 2012, letter carriers collected food donations from 10,000 communities, helping to put millions of meals on the tables of Americans in need.

Last year’s drive also marked the ninth consecutive year that people donated more than 70 million pounds of food to the Stamp Out Hunger food drive. But, with more than 50 million people, including nearly 17 million children, facing hunger in Americai – the fight for hunger- relief continues.

“The Stamp Out Hunger food drive is important for our local communities because it helps stock food banks and pantries for summer, a time when there’s an increased need for food assistance, especially for children who are out of school,” said Fredric V. Rolando, NALC president. “The letter carriers are committed to supporting the drive by picking up and delivering food donations to local Feeding America food banks and hunger-relief organizations in their markets.”

Nick Cannon, multi-talented entertainer and member of the Feeding America

Entertainment Council, is the national spokesperson for the Stamp Out Hunger food drive for the third consecutive year. The drive particularly hits home for Cannon, who experienced hunger and relied on food pantries as a child.

“Feeding America is grateful to all the letter carriers and all sponsors who help make the Stamp Out Hunger food drive possible,” said Bob Aiken, president and CEO of Feeding America. “With one in six Americans living at risk of hunger, our food banks are stretched thin and providing food assistance to nearly six million people each week. Food donations are crucial to our goal of a hunger-free America.”

 

Campbell Shows Its Support

Campbell Soup Company, a long-time supporter of the drive, and its partners produced post cards and grocery bags that will be delivered to more than 75 million homes across the country as a reminder and a means to participate in the drive. In addition, Campbell will again support this year’s food collection effort by donating one million pounds of food—more than 800,000 mealsii—to Feeding America member food banks.

“Campbell is committed to the success of the Stamp Out Hunger food drive and will continue to help rally support from coast-to-coast,” said Denise Morrison, Campbell Soup Company’s president and chief executive officer. “It’s unfortunate that millions of Americans, especially so many children, continue to struggle with hunger. We strongly encourage people across the country to participate on May 11 to help provide relief for our community members in need.”

 

Get Involved In Your Community

To participate in the  Stamp Out Hunger food drive, residents are encouraged to leave a sturdy bag containing non-perishable foods, such as canned soup, canned vegetables, pasta, peanut butter, rice or cereal, next to their mailbox prior to the time of regular mail delivery on Saturday, May 11. The nation’s 175,000 letter carriers, representing nearly 1,500 NALC branches in more than 10,000 communities, will collect these food donations as they deliver the mail and take them to a local Feeding America food bank or hunger-relief organization.

Feeding America provides food assistance to 37 million Americans every year.

According to Feeding America, one in eight Americans relies on the organization for food and groceries, and the organization distributes nearly 3.4 billion pounds of donated food and grocery products, including more than 800  million pounds of fresh produce, annually.

For more information about the annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive, visit

www.helpstampouthunger.com or www.facebook.com/StampOutHunger, and follow the food drive at www.twitter.com/StampOutHunger. 

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