WEST MICHIGAN -- The country's largest single-day food drive takes place this Saturday, May 14: the 24th annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive.
The National Association of Letter Carriers runs this drive in more than 10,000 cities nationwide, asking all neighbors to donate non-perishable foods to local families.
By this Wednesday you may have received a postcard and Meijer paper bag in the mail. All the letter carriers ask you do is place non-perishable foods in that or any bag, then place it out by your mail Saturday morning in time for the carrier to pick it up.
For 12 years, Andrea Faulkner has been delivering mail in Grand Rapids. She is also the Grand Rapids city coordinator for Stamp Out Hunger and said this Saturday is something she looks forward to each year.
“Every time you see one you get a little thrill, at least I do, like ‘Oh, there’s another one! We got more free food for the hungry,’” said Faulkner.
FOX 17 spoke with Faulkner as she delivered the postcards and donated Meijer paper bags in Grand Rapids. Letter carriers like herself ask all neighbors to fill them in time for Saturday's Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive.
“If you tallied it up from all the years, well over one million pounds of food has been collected from this food drive," said Andrew Steiner, spokesperson with Feeding America West Michigan.
Food banks including Feeding America West Michigan in Comstock Park are instrumental in this food drive. Last month, 108,000 Meijer paper bags were bundled and stacked, donated for this year's drive.
Last year's drive was a success: 62,000 pounds of food donated in a single day, which Steiner calls "an incredible amount." All of this food donated in this part of West Michigan is sorted at their food bank, then donated to local food pantries.
Back on the delivery route, as Faulkner shut her mail truck she smiled and explained this Saturday is reminiscent of Christmas: she says letter carriers make multiple food drop-offs to their post offices Saturday.
The Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is a reminder that almost everyone knows someone who has struggled with hunger.
“Dig deep: if you have something in your cupboard you haven’t used in six months or a year, you probably not going to use it; just go ahead and put it out," said Faulkner. "Somebody needs that food and you can make a real difference for your neighbors and your coworkers; you don’t even know who needs things.”
This year letter carriers and food banks are especially asking for high-protein foods like: canned tuna; peanut butter; canned beans; soups; and whole grain pastas.
Also, if you would like to make a donation to Feeding America West Michigan click here. Steiner said if you donate $1 that allows their agency to distribute four meals.