The call is out to volunteers to help sort food for the country's largest food drive of the year.
The National Association of Letter Carriers will host their annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive this Saturday, and Feeding America is seeking volunteers to help at its sorting location at 4702 Transport Dr., Building 6, Tampa, off State Road 60 and 50th Street.
Shifts are available Saturday, May 12, from 2 to 5 p.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. and Sunday, May 13, from 9 a.m. to noon., 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., noon to 4 p.m. and 2 to 6 p.m.
Any child that volunteers on Sunday will receive a handmade card for their mother. It will show that, in her honor, they donated hours to help the needy in the community.
Volunteers must be at least 14 years of age unless directly supervised by a parent. All volunteers are required to wear closed-toe shoes.
Sign up online at the Emergency Care Help Organization's website.
For questions, email Joni@echofl.org or call 813-685-0935.
According to Stacey Efaw, executive director of the Emergency Care Help Organization, the postal food drive will go a long way to helping fill ECHO's empty shelves. The postal food drive is expected to collect more than 90,000 pounds of food for nonprofit organizations that feed Tampa Bay's needy, including ECHO.
ECHO serves more than 700 area residents each month in Brandon, Lithia, Dover, Gibsonton, Seffner, Valrico and Riverview. The group provides food, clothing and household items to individuals and families in emergency situations up to four times in a lifetime.
The idea for the food drive was born 20 years ago when two Arizona food carriers who delivered to a food pantry noticed its shelves were always bare around May.
The postal carriers union backed the effort and it quickly grew nationwide. Letter carriers have helped collect more than one billion pounds of food since the food drive started.
Residents who can't volunteer can still take part by filling the plastic bag they received in the mail with nonperishable foods and placing it by their mailboxes Saturday for letter carriers to pick up.
Donate items like canned meats, fish, soup, bottled juice, vegetables, pasta, cereal and rice that do not require refrigeration. Please do not include items that have expired or are in glass containers.
"It’s our 20th anniversary,” NALC President Fredric Rolando noted. “For two decades now, our annual national drive has proved critical in helping millions of American families—our customers—who are struggling to make ends meet during this continuing recession.
“Each year, the second Saturday in May is a day when all citizens have an opportunity, with the help of their letter carrier, to easily donate food to needy families in their community,” he said.
The drive, the largest one-day food-collection event in the nation, has been a success every year, Rolando said, but the needs are particularly sad, even staggering, in 2012.
“Sixteen percent of all Americans are at risk of hunger—uncertain where their next meal may be coming from. That includes one in five children under the age of 18, plus four million seniors who are forced
every day to choose between paying a utility bill and buying food,” he said.
“Last year, despite many obstacles, letter carriers proudly collected 70.2 million pounds of food, raising the total amount of donations picked up over the history of the drive to more than 1.1 billion pounds,” Rolando said. “With help from our brothers and sisters in the rural craft, alongside other postal employees and volunteers, letter carriers will do what we can again this year to help all Americans.”