According to the meaning of the word “anniversary,” it means, “The celebration or Commemoration of a date each year.”
Surely, each one of us has certain dates throughout the year that we look forward to celebrating as a reoccurring event. The 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, wedding anniversaries, Hanukah or Christmas, to name only a few, bring back fond memories of years’ past.
The United States Postal Service in conjunction with the National Association of Letter Carriers and other Postal Unions and agencies like The United Way, to name only a few, has a very important anniversary of its own to look forward to as well. This year marks the 25th year of “Stamp Out Hunger” held on each second Saturday in May to help the less fortunate.
Some statistics that I would like to share with you to help you understand the importance of this day;
• There are approximately 49 million or 1 in 6 Americans are food insecure.
• Over 13 million or 1 in 6 children are living in a food insecure household.
• 5.4 million Seniors (age 60+) choose between paying for groceries and buying medicine.
• 1 in 7 Americans live at or below the poverty level.
• 1 in 5 households served by Feeding America has a member who has served in the U.S. military.
• 1 in 10 adults served by Feeding America is currently a student.
• 1 in 3 households served by Feeding America includes a member with diabetes.
And because of these statistics, the USPS and the NALC membership band together as a team to help minimize those individuals struggling with food insecurities. During our first 24 years over 1.5 billion pounds of non-perishable food has been donated by generous postal patrons for the less fortunate.
Last year, letter carriers across our Nation, including Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands, collected over 80 million pounds of food from kind and compassionate people to help those in need. Locally, letter carriers and their helpers collected more than 28,280 pounds of non-perishable food along their routes. This food was distributed to the Shepherd’s Pantry in Acushnet, The Damien Place Pantry in Wareham, M.O. Food, the Immigrant Assistance Center, the Salvation Army, PACE, the Red Cross and the Catholic Social Services, all located in New Bedford.
“Too many people in this country are going hungry,” NALC President Frederic Rolando said. “We know this to be true because we see it as we deliver to every address in America at least six days a week.”
And according to Blanche Pepin, the Shepherd’s Pantry Administrator, located in Acushnet: “We never want to turn away any needy individual from getting help. But in order for us to accomplish this, we need food drives such as this to keep the doors open.”
You can help by simply reaching inside your cupboard and grabbing some non-perishable food and placing this food in or around your mailbox or on your porch by 8 am on Saturday, May 13th. Your letter carrier or his/her helper will do the rest. It’s that simple. You’ll be receiving a postcard to remind you of the food drive and you can place it on your refrigerator or wherever it will be helpful for you to remember this very important day.
Happy anniversary to all those who want to help the needy.
God Bless, Gerry Payette, USPS Letter Carrier Ret.
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