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Can we hit 10,000 pounds? That’s our goal this year for the 27th Annual Letter Carriers ‘Stamp Out Hunger’ Food Drive on Saturday, May 11.

All the food donated locally comes to Stepping Stones Food Pantry.

You should see all the food in the warehouse that day—and the whole week following. We hardly know where to put it all—what a great problem!

The past few years the amount collected has hovered right around 8,000–9,000 pounds. If everyone would put out their bag we’d definitely break the record.

The USDA says the average meal size is 1.2 pounds of food so 10,000 pounds would be 8,333 meals. That’s enough to feed a family of four for almost two years. Wow.

The Stepping Stones’ pantry serves an average of about 700 families a month, so it won’t last quite that long, but it’s still a lot of food!

It’s so easy to help. All you have to do is put some unopened, non-perishable food in a bag and set it out by your mailbox on May 11, before your usual mail delivery time.

The postal employees and Stepping Stones’ staff and volunteers do all the rest.

You probably received a bag in the mail last week that you can use but, if not or if you didn’t save it, any bag will do.

The post office requests that you not include any glass containers but any other type of packaging is fine (cans, plastic, boxed or bagged items).

Food safety guidelines allow us to accept most non-perishables up to three years past the “best by” date. Personal care items are also helpful.

What’s most needed? Peanut butter, tuna, canned chicken, canned fruit and vegetables, soup, spaghetti sauce, pasta, rice, low sugar cereal, oatmeal—these kinds of things are great but other foods provide variety and that’s always nice, too.

Also toilet paper, diapers, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, etcetera. None of these things can be purchased with Food Share (formerly Food Stamps) and are rarely available through the Feed My People Food Bank, where Stepping Stones orders most of the purchased product we distribute.

The post office food drive takes place the second Saturday of May every year all over the country.

In 2018 71.6 million pounds of food was collected. Just think of the millions of people coming together to help their neighbors at risk of hunger.

Show your letter carrier some love! They go the extra mile that day to help our community and are also glad when they collect a lot.

As noted in a Postal Service blog (uspsblog.com/food-drive), while many of us are able to go to our kitchen cupboards to grab a quick snack or to prepare a favorite meal that’s not the case for everyone: “In fact, some go without food on a daily basis, many of whom are children. Individuals facing hunger make difficult choices every day between food and utilities, transportation, medicine and housing. It’s an important issue and one that the Postal Service and customers are doing something about. We’re making a difference one neighborhood at a time.”

So be sure to leave a bag at your mailbox on May 11.

If you forget but still want to participate, just drop your bag off at Stepping Stones (1602 Stout Rd., Menomonie) anytime during the next week.

We’ll make sure it gets counted in the total pounds.

If you’d like to volunteer to help sort the food, give us a call: 715-235-2920.

Together we can STAMP out hunger!

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Katherine Dutton is the executive director of Stepping Stones of Dunn County. She can be reached at director@steppingstonesdc.org

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