Letter carriers across the country will unite this Saturday (May 13) for a special cause — the 25th annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive. This food drive is America's largest 1-day food collection effort of its kind. It provides residents with an easy way to donate food to those in need in Helena-West Helena and other Phillips County communities.

Helena Post Office letter carriers will be participating in this event.

Letter carriers across the country will unite this Saturday (May 13) for a special cause — the 25th annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive. This food drive is America's largest 1-day food collection effort of its kind. It provides residents with an easy way to donate food to those in need in Helena-West Helena and other Phillips County communities.

Helena Post Office letter carriers will be participating in this event.

“Customers should simply leave their donation of non-perishable goods next to their mailbox before their usual mail delivery time Saturday,” stated Leslie Tolliver-Gay, spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Service, in a news release. “Letter carriers will collect the donations and in turn they will help distribute them to local food banks, pantries or shelters.”

The Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is held annually the second Saturday of every May in 10,000 cities and towns in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam.

“With the economic struggles facing many Americans, the letter carriers' food drive is as critical as ever,” added Tolliver-Gay. “Not only do millions of Americans go hungry but the organizations that help feed them are in serious need of replenishments.”

It was noted that hunger affects nearly 50 million people nationwide, including millions of children, senior citizens and veterans. Pantry shelves that are filled as the result of holiday generosity during the winter months are frequently bare by late spring. Most school programs also are suspended during the summer months and alternate sources of food have to be found.

With this drive, local letter carriers hope to fill the gap.

Suggested donation items include canned soup, canned vegetables, canned meats and fish, pasta, peanut butter, rice and cereal. The items should be placed in a sturdy bag — plastic or paper.

Assisting the local letter carries in the food drive are the U.S. Postal Service, the National Rural Letter Carriers Association, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, Valpak, United Way Worldwide, the AFL-CIO, the AARP Foundation and Valassis.

Since the food drive began back in 1993, the Letter Carriers' Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive has collected more than 1.5 billion pounds of food. Last year's effort generated a record 80 million pounds of food.