Last year, the National Association of Letter Carriers collected a record 80 million pounds of nonperishable food in its annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive. This raised the total amount of donations picked up since the food drive first started in 1993 to 1.5 billion pounds.
I mean, wow. Each year I participate in this food drive, I am overwhelmed by the generosity I see.
However, even though those numbers are impressive, the sad fact is, hunger in America is an acute problem. Did you know that nearly 49 million Americans—one in six —are unsure where their next meal is coming from? This includes 13 million children as well as about 5 million seniors over age 60—many of whom live on fixed incomes and often are too embarrassed to ask for help.
For me, those numbers make me think about Macomb County and how hunger impacts us locally. So, this year, when you consider participating in the food drive on May 13, don’t just pick the old food from your cupboard; consider what you are donating is going to the child going hungry at school or the senior with medical issues who requires a special diet but cannot afford it. Let’s simply add a few extras to our shopping list before the food drive and give food that we would feed to our own families!
Here are some tips for supporting this year’s food drive:
- Do not donate food you would not eat or is expired.
- Never donate perishable food items.
- Refrain from donating glass jar items as they usually break in transport.
- Consider high protein items such as peanut butter, canned chicken, tuna and canned stews.
- Add a few low-sodium options to your donation or other foods that meet special dietary needs.
- Lastly, if you still find it challenging, you can also donate money. That allows food pantries and food banks to purchase perishable lunch meat, chicken and beef products that are not donated.
You can find out more information on this event at mca.macombgov.org/MCA-ES-Food. For those of you who contribute every year, or who are planning to this year, I want to say thank you! You are truly impacting a child, senior or family that may otherwise go without!
Linda Azar is division director for Children and Family Services. The mission of the Macomb Food Program is to provide food to hungry people in Macomb County. Feeding the hungry since 1975, the Macomb Food Program provides immediate relief to those in need of emergency food through a network of more than 50 pantries and hunger relief organizations. Food gathered locally from the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is donated directly to the Macomb Food Program for local distribution.