By Dawn Krebs
TREASURE COAST -- 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 House of Hope is the primary recipient in Martin County.
All area residents can help by bagging nonperishable food items and putting it by their mailbox for letter carriers to pick up on May 11.
Recommended items include canned meats, soup, fruit, vegetables, pasta, peanut butter, beans, tomato-based products, cereal and rice. Do not include items that have expired, require refrigeration or are in glass containers.
If residents want to do even more, a large group of volunteers is needed to help sort and box the tons of food on May 11 and May 13 at the Martin County Fairgrounds.
Volunteer shifts are available on May 11 from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., and from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. On May 13, the shifts are from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Stamp Out Hunger typically brings in from 30 to 40 tons of food for the House of Hope food pantries. It is especially needed during the summer months, when children are not receiving school lunches and many workers have their hours cut back because of seasonal employment.
Throughout all of last year, House of Hope provided Martin County residents with 191 tons of food - the equivalent of about 299,000 meals. House of Hope's services also include providing clothing, financial assistance and case management to guide people toward greater economic stability.
To volunteer, contact Kelly McIntyre at House of Hope, at (772) 286-4673, Ext. 1004, or firstname.lastname@example.org.