LAKEWOOD—Hungry families and individuals in Pierce County will have more food in their cupboards this spring, thanks to the thoughtfulness of local citizens who placed bags of food by their mailboxes on May 14. EFN received over 265,000 pounds of food from communities throughout the county.
The event is a true community effort, with sponsor Bank of America providing more than 300,000 bags to the post office, who then delivered bags and reminders to area residents. Bank volunteers joined others from United Way, Boy Scouts, ROTC, and many other organizations to help postal carriers on their routes to pick up food and load it onto trucks. Realtors from the Tacoma Pierce County Association of Realtors sorted food in EFN’s warehouse after the drive.
This year, organizers made an effort to emphasize the nutritional value of items donated. Peanut butter and canned meats, vegetables, and soups are healthy, protein-laden foods for families and individuals who visit area food banks in need of support through difficult times. EFN’s warehouse in Lakewood is now filled to the brim with generous gifts of food, but the bounty doesn’t last long.
“We distribute over $1 million pounds of food each month. The Letter Carriers’ Food Drive provides us with a weeks’ worth of food for those in our community who cannot take for granted that their cupboards will be full if they’re hungry,” says EFN Executive Director Helen McGovern.
Food drives play an important role in helping Emergency Food Network meet the needs of our hungry Pierce County neighbors, but the National Association of Letter Carriers’ Food Drive is by far the biggest annual drive. Postal carriers in Tacoma, Lakewood, Puyallup, Ft. Lewis, Gig Harbor, Sumner, Parkland, Graham, and other rural areas throughout the region participate in this nationwide effort to “Stamp Out Hunger” (pun intended).
Each month in Pierce County an average of 147,000 children, seniors and adults seek help at local food banks and hot meal sites. In 2010 EFN distributed 14.1 million pounds of food worth $18.5 million at no cost through our warehouse operation. This represents a 16% increase over pounds distributed in 2009.
In addition to individual food drives, EFN relies on various companies and organizations to donate product. Once received, the food is distributed to the 67 food banks, hot meal sites, and shelters EFN serves throughout Pierce County. For many of these programs, EFN provides their regular foundation of shelf stable (dry, canned, and packaged food), fresh & frozen foods.
EFN is able to leverage their buying and donated food to distribute $12 worth of food for every $1 donated.
To learn more about EFN or to obtain a food drive information packet, visit www.efoodnet.org or call (253) 584-1040.