The National Letter Carriers Association’s Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive will begin on Saturday, May 14.

This year will mark the 30th anniversary of this event. Letter carriers roam the community every day, often coming face to face with a sad reality for too many people: hunger. Every year on the second Saturday in May, letter carriers across the country collect non-perishable food donations from mail customers. These donations go directly to local food pantries to provide food to people in their community who need help.

St. Mary’s Food Bank and National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 6156, representing carriers from Goodyear/Avondale, Cottonwood, Litchfield Park, Peoria, Sun City, Sun City West, Surprise, Tolleson and Williams invite customers to join the fight to “End Hunger. Participating in this year’s Stamp Out Hunger food drive is simple. Just leave a non-perishable food donation in a bag near their mailbox on Saturday, May 14 and the postman will do the rest.

In its 29-year history, the drive has collected well over 1.88 billion pounds of food, through a Universal Postal Service delivery network that covers the entire country, including Puerto Rico, Guam and the US Virgin Islands.

The need for food donations is great. Currently, more than 42 million Americans don’t know where their next meal will come from. More than 12 million are children who feel the impact of hunger on their overall health and ability to succeed in school, and nearly 5.2 million people aged 60 and over suffer from food insecurity, many of whom live on fixed incomes often too embarrassed to ask for help.

The timing of postal collection is crucial. Food banks and food pantries often receive the majority of their donations during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. In the spring, many pantries are depleted, entering summer with few supplies at a time when many school breakfast and lunch programs are unavailable for children in need.