By MIRANDA BAINES
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
Mail carriers will do their part Saturday morning to “Stamp Out Hunger.”
Tarboro is among the more than 10,000 cities and towns in America participating in the largest one-day food drive in the nation, spearheaded by the National Association of Letter Carriers. Jeffrey Stanley, Tarboro postmaster, asks town residents to leave nonperishable food items, such as bottled water and canned goods, in front of their mailboxes Saturday, before the carriers begin making their rounds at 9 a.m. Stanley estimated 200,000 carriers throughout the United States will collect food in the course of their routes.
“We normally get a good response. We’re looking forward to the same response this year,” said Stanley. He said the drive results in the donation of about 4,000 pounds of food each year.
“We donate it to the local food pantry and non-profit organizations. I always keep it in the town that I collect the items in. That way we’re sharing amongst each other in the same town,” Stanley said.
One of the organizations that receives donations from the “Stamp Out Hunger” drive is Tarboro Community Outreach (TCO), which operates a food pantry and a soup kitchen.
“With the economy and the way people are losing their jobs, food pantries are very much needed,” said Stanley. He regularly volunteers at TCO and said the need for food donations is “higher than normal.”
TCO’s soup kitchen serves between 200 and 400 people daily for lunch and dinner. In December, about 220 people received assistance every week from TCO’s food pantry. The pantry distributes bags of food to those in need from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.
More than 50 million people nationwide face hunger every day, including nearly 17 million children, and “Stamp Out Hunger” is one way to alleviate that problem, according to a United States Postal Service news release on the event. Over the past 20 years, the nationwide “Stamp Out Hunger” drive has resulted in the delivery of more than 1 billion pounds of donations to food banks and pantries.