For the past two years we’ve all missed a lot of our favorite things. At Harvesters, we’ve missed some of our favorite food drives – Stamp Out Hunger is one of those drives.

Letter carriers walk through the community every day, often coming face to face with a sad reality for too many ­­­— hunger. So, each year on the second Saturday in May, letter carriers across the country collect nonperishable food donations from their customers. The donations collected locally go directly to Harvesters and then to our network partner agencies to provide food to people who need help.

The Stamp Out Hunger® Food Drive is the country’s largest single-day food drive and this year marks its 30th anniversary. It provides the public with an easy way to donate food to those in need. Customers simply leave a donation of nonperishable goods next to their mailbox before the delivery of the mail on Saturday, May 14. Letter carriers collect these food donations on that day as they deliver mail along their postal routes and distribute them to local food banks.

The food drive’s timing is crucial. Food banks and pantries often receive the majority of their donations during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons. By springtime, many pantries are depleted, entering the summer low on supplies at a time when many school breakfast and lunch programs are not available to children in need.

Paula Pratt (Harvesters Director of Community Engagement) and her team have assisted the Letter Carriers with this food drive for more than 15 years and their work begins months before the actual drive. “We have a wonderful group of volunteers who help us by inserting flyers in all the bags and then folding them – each year, that’s approximately 640,000 bags between the Kansas City and Topeka facilities,” Paula said.

The letter carriers distribute the empty bags the week before the food drive – this year on Saturday, May 7. Then on Saturday, May 14, residents just need to put their bag with nonperishable food donations at their mailbox before the letter carrier arrives.

“It is always wonderful to see the letter carrier trucks pull up to our warehouses to deliver the donations they picked up,” said Paula. “When you see all the donations, it is inspiring to see how committed our community is to help provide for their neighbors needing food assistance.”

Wondering what to donate? Paula said the most needed items include peanut butter, pasta, pasta sauce in cans, cereal, canned vegetable and fruits (no sugar added), and canned meats.

Don’t forget to mark your calendar for the Stamp Out Hunger food drive – bag delivery on Saturday, May 7, and bag collection on May 14. If you don’t receive a bag on May 7, please donate in any bag you have.

For more information on Stamp Out Hunger or to make a monetary donation online, please visit our event page.