HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - You can help feed your community Saturday, without leaving your driveway.
The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) is hosting its 25th annual "Stamp Out Hunger" food drive Saturday, May 13. The national food drive is the country's largest single-day food drive, providing residents with an easy way to donate food to those in need in the community.
Jim Prout, Executive Director of Christian Services, said the drive helps many pantries in the Pine Belt.
"We're excited about the cans coming in and getting involved. When you see the community stand for each other, we know we have times when we are down," said Prout. "We just love a part of being able to be there and pick up the cans and see the love that is shown by each and every person giving those items out."
The donations collected will be shared between four food banks in the Pine Belt: Christian Services, Salvation Army, Petal Children's Task Force and Edwards Street Fellowship Center.
Ann McCullen, Executive Director for the Edwards Street Fellowship Center, said this time of the year is crucial for donations. As children get out of school, donations seem to go down at the pantries, while the need increases.
"We don't realize how many children received free lunch and free breakfast everyday," said McCullen. "So, when that's no longer provided, that's a real strain on the family."
Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny Dupree presented a proclamation Friday, dedicating May 13, 2017 as "National Association of Letter Carriers' National Food Drive Day."
"It's about giving back to your community," said Dupree. "Mail carriers are paid to do one thing, to take the mail, sort it and deliver to you. This is something extra they do. They are excited about competition on who brings in the most."
Mail carriers delivered donated brown paper bags to residents this week. All residents have to do is fill the bag with canned goods or non-perishable items and place them next to their mailbox before the delivery of mail on Saturday, May 13. Letter carriers will collect the food donations on that day as they deliver mail along their postal routes. If you did not receive a bag, you can place donations in any paper or plastic bag to be picked up by your mailbox.
If you pick your mail up at the post office, there are bags and drop-off areas for donations in the lobbies.
The locations participating include the post offices in Hattiesburg and Petal.
Since the first national Food Drive in 1993, the Letter Carriers' Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive has collected more than 1.5 billion pounds of food; last year's drive brought in a record 80 million pounds of food.
McCullen said last year, the center received over 3,000 pounds of food after the drive.
"Whatever you do, just think of your neighbors in the time of need and you can make a difference," said McCullen.
You can find more information about the 25th annual Letter Carriers' Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive here.