On Saturday, May 11, Santa Rosa and Escambia Letter Carriers will join forces to help Stamp Out Hunger in our community. In its 21st year, the annual food drive has grown to the largest national single-day effort that benefits Feeding America and provides assistance to millions of Americans who struggle to put food on the table.

“This is a critical food drive for the hungry in our area, because it comes at a time when resources are low and we are experiencing new challenges in meeting the needs of our clients,” said DeDe Flounlacker, Manna Executive Director. 

Residents are encouraged to leave a sturdy bag of non-perishable foods, such as canned soup, canned vegetables, pasta, rice or cereal next to their mailbox prior regular mail delivery on Saturday, May 11. Escambia and Santa Rosa County letter carriers will collect food donations for local food banks.

United Way of Escambia County, the U.S. Postal Service, National Association of Letter Carriers and Feeding America, Campbell’s Soup Company, Publix, AARP, Valpak, the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, the AFL-CIO, GLS Companies, Source Direct Plastics, Valassis/Red Plum and Uncle Bob’s Self Storage are supporting the drive this year.

Despite the prior generous support, the need for food in our community has increased. Across the six pantries operated by Manna in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties, there was 44% increase in need from 2012 compared to 2011.

The need for food assistance exists across America. According to an annual Department of Agriculture survey, the number of American homes without appropriate food resources exceeded 50 million in 2012 and more than 17 million children (one in five) are faced with the prospect of hunger.

In 2012, local drive organizers collected more than 150,000 pounds of food. This year, the food will be distributed at Manna Food Pantries, Bay Area Food Bank, Warrington Emergency Aid, Acts Ministries of Gulf Breeze and We Care Ministries of Navarre United Methodist Church.

For more information about the annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive visit www.helpstampouthunger.com or www.facebook.com/StampOutHunger, and follow the drive at www.twitter.com/StampOutHunger.