By Dawn Krebs
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY -- On May 11, your letter carrier is asking all the residents of the Treasure Coast to put a special package in the mail, one that will help feed people living in their own community.
It's all part of the annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive, organized every year by the National Association of Letter Carriers. This year, the food drive will be conducted on Saturday, May 11.
"Last year, the Treasure Coast collected tens of thousands of pounds of food," said Brian Debee, the vice president of the National Association of Letter Carriers. "We've been doing this for 22 years. Every letter carrier participates."
Stamp Out Hunger is the nation's largest single-day food drive, and according to Feeding America, 24,840 Indian River County residents went hungry last year, so the fight for hunger relief continues.
Last year, more than 60,000 pounds of food was raised in Indian River County alone. Simply leave a sturdy bag containing non-perishable foods, such as canned soup, canned vegetables, pasta, rice or cereal next to your mailbox prior to the time of regular mail delivery on Saturday, May 11.
Vero Beach's letter carriers will collect these food donations as they deliver the mail and take them for distribution among local food banks and pantries.
This year's participants will include: Food Pantry of Indian River, Breath of Heaven Ministries, First Church of God, Lakeside Fellowship, Operation Hope of Fellsmere, Our Father's Table, Salvation Army, St. Helen's Catholic Church, Tabernacle Baptist, Temple of Truth, and The Source.
"They come to us hungry and broken. Last year we served over 40,000 hot meals to those in need. We're so excited to be able to participate again this year," said Dennis Bartholomew, The Source's executive director. According to Scott Turner, President of Food Pantry of Indian River, the need is out there. He sees it.
"You just have to take the time and get involved... so many families and people are struggling. It's sad. That's who we're here to help," said Mr. Turner.
The annual food drive has grown from a regional to a national effort that provides assistance to the millions of neighbors in crisis struggling to put food on the table.
For more information about the annual Stamp Out Hunger postal food drive in Vero Beach, visit www.IAmTheSource.org