Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee is asking for the community’s support on Saturday, May 14 as it joins America’s letter carriers in the annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive.
Hosted each year by the National Association of Letter Carriers, Stamp Out Hunger is the largest single-day food drive in the country. The 24th annual food drive provides, on average, 30 percent of Second Harvest’s annual food drive donations and helps give assistance to Tennesseans struggling to put food on the table.
Residents can join Second Harvest to support their neighbors struggling with hunger by simply collecting non-perishable food items and leaving them in a sturdy bag near their mailboxes on Saturday, May 14. A letter carrier will collect the donations and deliver them to Second Harvest’s Partner Agencies, like a local food pantry. All donated items will remain in the county in which they were collected, and the food will then be distributed to those facing hunger.
“Stamp Out Hunger is like no other food drive. It allows every community across the country to collectively come together on one day to do their part to fight hunger. We are so grateful to the individuals who donate non-perishable items and for the letter carriers who take the time to collect each bag to help fight hunger in our 46-county service area,” said Jaynee Day, President and CEO of Second Harvest.
Stamp Out Hunger is the opportune time for the public to help those at risk of hunger.According to Feeding America‘s recently released Map the Meal Gap 2016 study, nearly 400,000 people across Second Harvest’s 46-country service area are food insecure, which is defined as limited or uncertain access to adequate food. Other key findings include:
- Nationally, an estimated 48 million Americans are food insecure, including more than one million Tennesseans. The State of Tennessee’s food insecurity rate is the 10th highest food insecurity rate in the country and the child food insecurity rate ranks as the 38th most food insecure state.
- 1 in 7 Middle Tennesseans, including 1 in 5 children struggle with hunger.
- In Williamson County, 15,940 individuals, including 8,110 children are considered food insecure.
- Food-insecure individuals in Middle Tennessee estimate needing an additional $17.24 per week to buy enough food to meet their nutritional needs, which is up $0.80. The national food budget shortfall is $24.6 billion, including $207,693,000 within Second Harvest’s service area – the highest since this study began in 2011.
- 29 percent of individuals and 27 percent of children in food insecure households in Middle Tennessee live in households with incomes that are 185 percent above the poverty line, making them likely to be ineligible for federal food assistance programs, emphasizing the importance of charitable food assistance.
“Letter carriers touch every residential and business address in this country at least six days a week,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said, “and our continued effort in the fight against hunger — often in our own neighborhoods — has made us all too familiar with the staggering numbers of people in need.”
The Stamp Out Hunger food drive was created in 1993 by the National Association of Letter Carriers to encourage communities to come together in an effort to stock the shelves of food banks and pantries nationwide. Today, the Stamp Out Hunger food drive is held in 10,000 cities and towns across the country. In 2015, the drive collected over 71 million pounds of food nationally, including nearly 600,000 pounds of food donated to help those in need right here in Middle Tennessee. Over the course of its 23-year history, the drive has collected well over one billion pounds of food, thanks to a postal service universal delivery network that spans the entire nation, including Puerto Rico, Guam and U.S. Virgin Islands.
The United States Postal Service, National Association of Letter Carriers, National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, UFCW, United Way, AFL-CIO, Valpack, and Valassis are all supporting this year’s Stamp Out Hunger food drive.