Although Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee and its agencies recently received $50,000 in the Walmart/Facebook “Fighting Hunger Together” campaign to fight hunger, it hopes that the community zeal toward hunger relief does not cease.
The food bank is asking the community to continue its support of hunger relief on Saturday during the 20th Annual National Association of Letter Carriers Food Drive to Stamp Out Hunger across America.
“Although we did not win the $1 million prize in the Fighting Hunger Together Campaign, we are asking the community to help raise this equivalent in food during the Annual Letter Carriers Food Drive,” said Rhonda Chafin, the food bank’s executive director.
The Stamp Out Hunger food drive, held each year on the second Saturday in May, has become the nation’s largest single-day food drive benefiting food banks in the Feeding America network. Feeding America is the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. In 2011, generous Americans donated 70.2 million pounds of food.
The need for food assistance continues to exist in every community in America, no matter how rich or poor. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s annual study measuring food security in the United States, the number of Americans living in food-insecure homes reached nearly 49 million in 2011, the most recent year that such data is available. Perhaps most alarming is the fact that more than 16 million children in America — more than 1 in 5 — face the prospect of hunger. Local statistics are just as alarming with as many as 1 in 5 people living in poverty with the possibility that 1 in 5 children may be going hungry.
To participate in the 20th Stamp Out Hunger food drive, postal patrons can leave a sturdy bag containing non-perishable foods, such as canned soup, canned vegetables, pasta, rice or cereal next to their mailbox prior to the time of regular mail delivery on Saturday. The nation’s 210,000 letter carriers, representing nearly 1,500 NALC branches, will collect these food donations as they deliver the mail and take them to a local Feeding America food bank or hunger-relief organization located in the communities they serve.
Feeding America provides food assistance to 37 million Americans every year. In Northeast Tennessee approximately 38,000 are being served each month. According to Feeding America, 1 in 8 Americans rely on a food bank for food and groceries, and the organization distributes 3 billion pounds of donated food and grocery products annually.
For more information about the annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive, visit www.helpstampouthunger.com or www.facebook.com/StampOutHunger, and follow the drive at www.twitter.com/StampOutHunger.