LAKEWOOD — On Saturday, May 14, you can be a partner in Pierce County’s most significant community-wide effort of the year to fight food insecurity. All you have to do is put out the mail. Pierce County postal carriers partner annually with Emergency Food Network and area food banks to collect more that 300,000 pounds of food during the Letter Carriers’ Food Drive, a national event on the second Saturday of every May.
“Our goal this year is 400,000 pounds food, but we need everyone to help spread the word in order to meet that goal,” says Emergency Food Network’s Executive Director, Helen McGovern. “This is the biggest food drive of the year and it is so successful because it is so easy. All you have to do is fill a bag with food and leave it by your mailbox on Saturday morning. Your postal carrier will pick up and deliver it to us, and we’ll distribute it throughout the county.”
Bank of America supplied the bags this year, which arrive in the mail the Wednesday before the food drive. That should give residents the chance to find the best non-perishable food items to help feed the 147,000 monthly visitors to area feeding programs. McGovern recommends canned chili, canned soup or vegetables, peanut butter, baby food, and other highly-nutritious items. “If you’d eat it, and it’s good for you, we’ll take it,” says McGovern.
Each address in the county will receive a bag, but there is no limit to the amount of bags you can place out by the mail. Postal carriers and volunteers will be swinging through your neighborhood to pick up your donations.
Each year, Emergency Food Network distributes more than 14 million pounds of food to 67 food banks, meal sites, and shelters in Pierce County. To help put that in perspective, the food collected on May 14 will last for a week and a half. EFN combines donated food with purchased food and vegetables grown at their 8-acre Mother Earth Farm to work towards their mission “to provide a reliable food supply so that no person in Pierce County goes hungry. EFN is able to leverage their buying and donated food to distribute $12 worth of food for every $1 donated.
Organizers of this year’s event recommend downloading the poster from EFN’s website and posting it in the workplace. Local businesses can also organize workplace collections to help boost this year’s total.
To learn more about EFN or to obtain a food drive information packet, visit www.efoodnet.org or call (253) 584-1040.