JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - For the third consecutive year, the Jacksonville community has set a new standard for generosity in the National Association of Letter Carriers “Stamp Out Hunger” Food Drive. This year’s event produced more than 351,000 pounds of much-needed nonperishable food resources for people in need on the First Coast.
Residents were asked to leave donations beside their mailboxes on Saturday, May 8, and postal carriers collected them as part of their normal routes. The donations were delivered to Second Harvest North Florida, which will distribute the food to its network of more than 500 member agencies that include food pantries, senior citizen centers, soup kitchens and other nonprofit organizations serving people in need.
The 2010 total is an increase of more than 15,000 pounds from 2009 and represents the equivalent of nearly 262,000 meals that will be provided.
“Our community responded in a big way as it always does,” Second Harvest Executive Director Thomas Mantz said. “Hunger is a real issue, and it affects children, seniors, the unemployed, people that we know and see each day who go to work and just can’t make ends meet. Stamp Out Hunger is a way that anyone and everyone can contribute to caring for their neighbor in need. We at Second Harvest applaud the community’s generosity and promise that these donations will be put to use quickly to feed hungry families.”
In 2009, Second Harvest North Florida distributed more than 10.3 million pounds into 18 north Florida counties through its network of agencies. It is projected to distribute more than 12.5 million pounds in 2010 – which translates to more than 9.2 million meals.
Second Harvest has partnered locally with NALC Branch 53 throughout the history of the “Stamp Out Hunger” Food Drive, which celebrates its 18th year in 2010. Since 2007, the event has increased from slightly more than 150,000 pounds collected in the Jacksonville area to more the 340,000 donated this year. Nationally, more than a billion pounds of food have now been collected and distributed in the event’s history.
“As letter carriers deliver in the neighborhoods throughout the area, they see how the economy has adversely affected some of the customers they deliver to,” said Bob Henning, president of NALC Branch 53 in Jacksonville. “They also see how generous people can be when times are tough and how their customers that are in need benefit from this one-day nationwide drive. We thank everyone who donated to make this year the best ever to help those in need.”
Volunteers are needed to help sort food at the Second Harvest warehouse. For more information about volunteering, contact Leah Bezares at 904.353.3663 or e-mail lbezares@WeNourishHope.org.
Click here to view images from Saturday’s food drive.
Click here to view video from Saturday’s food drive.