GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The 25th Annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive is a record-breaker in Grand Rapids and likely nationwide. As of Wednesday, letter carriers collected 204,303 pounds of donated food from residents in greater Grand Rapids.
“Thank you, Grand Rapids!” said a dozen East Paris station letter carriers Thursday to all the residents who donated.
For a quarter century, the National Association of Letter Carriers has run and collected 1.3 billion pounds of food nationwide donated to local food banks. The second Saturday of May, letter carriers work long hours alongside volunteers to collect donated non-perishables on residents’ doorsteps. On May 13 many Grand Rapids’ letter carriers said they felt this year’s food drive was going to be big just a few hours into their routes.
“It was an awesome day,” said Andrea Faulkner, Grand Rapids letter carrier who organizes the East Paris mail station for the Stamp Out Hunger food drive.
“All the carriers were realizing their trucks were filling up very early. So we knew it was big, even by noon we were starting to get really excited.”
At the East Paris mail station alone, the NALC Grand Rapids President Kyle Inosencio says their collected donations filled at least five semi-trucks that were taken to the Feeding America West Michigan food bank.
“We feel a lot of pride,” said Inosencio. “Letter carriers are in every community: they see what goes on, they see the hunger that goes on. So it’s very nice for us to be able to give back and help those people.”
Donations continue to trickle in this week, and online donations can be made toward the Stamp Out Hunger total by May 20 here on the Feeding America West Michigan website.
Meanwhile, volunteers continue to sort the donations daily at FAWM’s food bank to get it ready to feed children to seniors across West Michigan.
“Thank you so much to the letter carriers and the community,” said Shay Krick, FAWM programs administrator.
“We can’t just generate this food by ourselves, we rely on their partnership and how much they give. We find that some of the neediest communities in our area give so much.”