HISTORY OF THE LETTER CARRIER FOOD DRIVE
The Letter Carrier Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is the outgrowth of a tradition of community service exhibited by members of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) over the last 125 years. Carriers, who go into neighborhoods in every town six days a week, have always gotten involved when something needs to be done. Whether it is collecting funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA); watching over the elderly through the Carrier Alert Program; delivering needed antibiotics (if called upon); assisting victims of natural disasters, or rescuing victims of fires, crime, and other mishaps, letter carriers are the eyes and ears in every neighborhood and often life savers in the community.
Over history, a number of branches collected food for those in need as part of their community service effort. Discussions were held by the NALC, USPS, and AFL-CIO to explore a more coordinated effort. A pilot drive was held in October 1991. It proved so successful, the parties worked to make it a nationwide effort. Food banks and pantries suggested that late spring would be the best time for the drive, since most of their food donations are received over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday periods, leaving the food shelves depleted by spring. Making matters even worse for many, school breakfast and lunch programs are not available during the summer, placing an even greater responsibility on local food pantries and food shelves.
A revamped drive was organized for the second Saturday in May 1993, with a goal of at least one NALC local branch participating in each of the 50 states. The results were astounding. Over 11 million pounds of food were collected by over 220 union branches — a one day record in the United States. From Alaska to Florida and Maine to Hawaii, letter carriers did double duty by delivering the mail and picking up donations. In 2016, NALC branches collected over 80 million pounds of food for a cumulative total of 1.5 billion pounds over the history of the drive — an awesome achievement.
Each year, groups, businesses, and organizations join the NALC at the local, regional, and national levels, to help grow a campaign of hunger awareness and community action in conducting this one day, record making food drive. From the beginning, at the national level, we have had the steadfast support of the USPS, United Way, and AFL CIO. This year, United Food and Commercial Workers union (UFCW) is the national premiere partner, adding the largest food union in the country to our efforts. Locally, the Letter Carrier Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive enjoys partnerships with many church and faith groups, Rotary and Lions Clubs, grocers and youth groups, and those who work to provide help and hope to those in need.
We look forward to another record breaking 25th year in 2017, as we are…
BUILDING ON A BILLION!