This Saturday, most of us will be able to help fill local food banks without leaving our homes. That’s because our local letter carriers will pick up donations of non-perishables at our mailboxes when they drop off our mail during the annual Stamp Out Hunger event.

The National Association of Letter Carriers says the May date for collecting the donations is a strategic one. By late spring, food banks are starting to run out of the food donations from Thanksgiving and Christmas, so Stamp Out Hunger helps to replenish their shelves. The foods they collect stay in the communities that donated them, making the food drive a way for letter carriers to serve the communities they work in.

Before your letter carrier arrives on Saturday, May 9, place a bag of non-perishable food in unbreakable containers in a bag marked for Stamp Out Hunger. You may have received a special bag or postcard in your mailbox telling you about the event. If you haven’t, and you’re not sure if your local post office is participating, call and ask. The letter carriers that do participate know the importance of the extra work they put in this Saturday.

Best foods to donate

The NALC says these are the top foods requested by food banks:

  • cereal
  • pasta
  • spaghetti sauce
  • rice
  • canned fruits and vegetables
  • canned meals (soups, chili, pasta)
  • 100 percent juice
  • peanut butter
  • macaroni & cheese
  • canned protein (tuna, chicken and turkey)
  • beans (canned or dry)
Foods not to donate

These foods should not be put out for Stamp Out Hunger:

  • frozen food
  • homemade food
  • home-canned items
  • individual jars of baby food or bottles or cans of formula
  • food in glass containers
Non-food items to donate

Stamp Out Hunger is mainly a food collection event, but letter carriers will accept some non-food items:

  • pet food
  • toiletries
  • diapers
  • laundry detergent
  • soap
  • toilet paper
  • household cleaning items

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.