HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Over 78,000 pounds of donations were collected Saturday by mail carriers across the Pine Belt as part of the 25th annual "Stamp Out Hunger" food drive.
The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) hosted the national food drive in over 10,000 cities Saturday, May 13. The 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.
Late Saturday night, Winfred Johnson with the NALC had a total on all collections from mail carriers on city and rural routes. Johnson said the donations totaled 78,163 pounds of food from Hattiesburg, Petal, Lumberton, Tylertown and Columbia.
"We're tickled that we're able to help. We know during the summer months, they need the food in the food banks and they need the food all year long," Johnson said. "We are happy to help carry over through the summer months to feed everybody."
Each of the post offices are paired with local food pantries in the Pine Belt. The donations collected in Hattiesburg and Petal will be shared between four food banks: Christian Services, Salvation Army, Petal Children's Task Force and Edwards Street Fellowship Center.
"This year looks like it's going to be the best its ever been, thanks to the bags from the Community Bank," Johnson said. "We've picked up more than we ever have and we are looking to top last year, which was 60,000."
Johnson said a big help this year was brown bags donated by Community Bank. Mail carriers were able to deliver the bags throughout the week so residents had a reminder to place donations by the mailbox.
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.