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Leave food donations by mailbox Saturday to be collected by letter carriers

Walter G. Byers Elementary school second graders (L to R) Jessica Shonganie, My-Quyen Nguyen-Vu, and Roderigues Simmons load food in a mail truck during the 22nd Annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive sponsored by The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC).
Walter G. Byers Elementary school second graders (L to R) Jessica Shonganie, My-Quyen Nguyen-Vu, and Roderigues Simmons load food in a mail truck during the 22nd Annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive sponsored by The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC). jwillhelm@charlotteobserver.com

The annual U.S. Postal Workers Stamp Out Hunger food drive is Saturday.

Donors are asked to leave nonperishable food donations in a bag by their mailbox Saturday to be picked up by letter carriers.

The donations will be split equally between Loaves & Fishes and Second Harvest. Loaves & Fishes operates food pantries in Mecklenburg County for people who can’t afford groceries, while Second Harvest Food Bank supplies food to pantries across the region.

“This food drive is critical for both of our agencies as we prepare for an uptick in the number of struggling families we see each summer,” said Sue Bruce of Loaves & Fishes.

“Summer is hard on families struggling to make ends meet. When school is out, kids are home without access to free and reduced breakfast and lunch programs.”

Food Lion is a regional sponsor of the Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive and provided Stamp Out Hunger grocery bags that will be delivered to homes this week. Food Lion helped kick off the annual food drive by donating 9,200 pounds of food at an event held Tuesday at the store on Park Road.

Over the course of its 24-year history, the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive has collected more than 1 billion pounds of food across the nation.

The food drive's timing is crucial, experts say. Food banks and pantries often receive the majority of their donations during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons. By springtime, many pantries are depleted and enter the summer low on supplies at a time when many school breakfast and lunch programs are not available to children in need.

Currently, 49 million Americans are at risk of going hungry, including 13 million children and about 5 million people over age 60, experts say.

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