Stamp out hunger food drive

The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) will host their annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive this Saturday, May 13.

This is the largest food drive in the nation and began in 1993. Over the course of the 24-year history, the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive has collected well over one billion pounds of food.

Letter carriers all across the country and here in Santa Monica will be picking up outgoing mail from mailboxes as well as donated food items. At last year’s food drive, Santa Monica residents donated over 35,000 pounds of food.

After 25 years, the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is still going strong and so is Santa Monica letter carrier, Tim Thornton.

“I have been at the Santa Monica Post Office since 1985 and been volunteering with this event since it began in 1993,” said Thornton. “My experience with the food drive has been good because I know that I am doing something positive and for a worthwhile cause especially when I can help feed someone.”

Thornton has been a coordinator for the Santa Monica Branch with friend and colleague Justin Landrum for five years now and it doesn’t sound like he is going to step back any time soon.

The Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is meant to raise awareness about the ongoing problem of hunger in every community. The NALC stated in a recent press release that hunger affects about 50 million people around the country, including millions of children, senior citizens and veterans. Last year the food drive brought in a record 80 million pounds of food.

Each year the food drive receives more and more attention as well as more volunteers and donations.

Customers leave their donations of non-perishable goods next to their mailbox before the delivery of mail on Saturday. Letter carriers collect all food donations on that day as they deliver mail along their postal routes.

“Last year the participation from the city was great. I think people out here in Santa Monica really do like to help those in need,” said Thornton. “All the food donated throughout the food drive stays within the local community.”

Thornton explains the reason NALC host the food drive in May is because many local food banks and pantries run low on food. “This food drive kinda gets them over the summer time hump and get them to the winter season,” said Thornton.

Once the food is retrieved from the carriers it is brought back to the post office, then sorted out by volunteers and sent over to the Santa Monica Westside Food Bank.

“Last year, nearly 200 volunteers helped us sort over 100,000 pounds of donated food,” said Allison Griffith, Westside Food Bank Volunteer and Program Coordinator.

The Westside is in need of volunteers from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. on Sat., May 13th to help sort through the donations. Volunteers are welcomed to show up at the warehouse at 7 p.m. (1710 22nd St.).

For more information about the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive visit https://www.nalc.org/community-service/food-drive . For more information about the Westside Food Bank you can visit http://www.westsidefoodbankca.org .

marina@www.smdp.com