Statement as distributed Thursday:
FORT WAYNE, Ind.– Recently released statistics show that the Fort Wayne-area collected nearly three quarters of a million pounds of food during the recent May 12 Stamp Out Hunger Letter Carriers’ Food Drive. Area letter carriers, schools and residents contributed 743,481 pounds of food this year. All food collected locally is distributed to 83 food banks and pantries in Northeast Indiana, many of which are served by the Associated Churches Food Bank.
Nationally, the Stamp Out Hunger Letter Carriers’ Food Drive collected 70.5 million pounds of food. This was the ninth consecutive year that the drive surpassed 70 million pounds of food collected. Donations locally, and across the United States, increased this year after a slight decrease in 2011. The local National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 116 collected 209,108 pounds more this year than last.
“Letter carriers see first-hand the needs in our community,” said Milton Gray, local chair of the Stamp Out Hunger Letter Carriers’ Food Drive. “The work of the letter carriers, our volunteers and all the local residents who helped us provide food that is needed by so many of our neighbors makes me proud to be a part of this effort.”
“Since 2009, enrollment of households in Indiana’s statewide food assistance program has increased 33 percent,” said Todd Stephenson, CEO of United Way of Allen County. “Efforts like the Letter Carriers’ Food Drive are crucial to helping residents meet their most basic needs.”
The NALC’s annual one-day drive, largest in the nation, is held on the second Saturday in May in 10,000 cities and towns in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam. This was the 20th annual NALC Food Drive to stamp out hunger. Non-perishable donations residents left near their mail boxes were collected by the nation’s 200,000 letter carriers as they delivered mail.
Assisting 1,600 local NALC branches were rural letter carriers and other postal employees, plus members of other unions and civic volunteers. Other national partners were Campbell Soup Co., the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, Valpak, the U.S. Postal Service, United Way Worldwide, the AFL-CIO and Uncle Bob’s Self Storage. Locally, Associated Churches Food Bank, Deister Machine Company, Kroger, NALC Branch 116, Port-A-Stor, Tri-State Trucking, Walgreen’s, and United Way of Allen County are partners in the effort.