DES MOINES, Iowa — After two years away, the annual Stamp Out Hunger drive is back, collecting donations for people dealing with hunger across the country.
There are lots of reasons that families might be struggling with hunger—rising food costs due to inflation, or losing pandemic SNAP benefits in April, just to name a few. Whatever the reason, DMARC food pantries have been seeing the need.
"In May, we're seeing a 40 percent increase over the same month last year. Also in April, we saw over 1,000 people use our food pantry network for the first time ever. So there's a lot of need right now," said Luke Elzinga, Communications & Advocacy Manager for DMARC.
That makes Stamp Out Hunger more timely than ever. On Saturday, mail carriers across the U.S. will be picking up nonperishable food donations at mailboxes on their usual routes to share with local pantries like DMARC. In 2019, the last year the drive was hosted, they collected over 66,000 pounds of food.
"You think that sounds like a lot, but that's a month of food for them, and then they still have 11 more months to get. So we're hoping that we can even get more so that they can last longer in their pantries," said Michelle Paulsen, the drive's local coordinator.
Paulsen is also a letter carrier in Clive.
The Stamp Out Hunger drive is the largest one-day food drive in the country. Over the 30 years since it began, it has collected over 1.8 billion pounds of food. All of those donations end up staying close to home. It may be a lot of extra weight for carriers, but they are more than up to the challenge.
"That human sharing aspect for me, it was always beneficial. And I think that a lot of the employees see that recognize it and appreciate that too," said Richard Foust, Jr., Acting Postmaster of Des Moines.
Donations do not need to be marked specifically for Stamp Out Hunger. Just leave your donations by your mailbox on May 14, and they will be picked up and given to your local community.