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Letter Carriers food drive returns Saturday, May 13

NALC Stamp Out Hunger logo

Volunteers will be needed at local post offices to help collect food, unload trucks

Adapted from the Minneapolis Labor Review, March 25, 2023

By Steve Share, Minneapolis Labor Review editor

MINNEAPOLIS — With family food budgets hard-hit by higher grocery prices, this year’s “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive organized by Branch 9 of the National Association of Letter Carriers is going to be extremely important to help stock local emergency foodshelves.

The food drive will take place Saturday, May 13 and NALC Branch 9 is putting out a call for volunteers from local unions and community groups.

The local letter carriers food drive is part of a nationwide food drive organized by NALC — now going on 30 years — and is the largest one-day food drive in the United States.

This year marks the first year since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020 that the food drive will be returning in its traditional manner — with letter carriers picking up non-perishable food items donated by people who live along their mail routes.

“Due to COVID, we haven’t done it for the past three years,” said Latasha Mccaleb, who is Branch 9’s food drive coordinator. Mccaleb, Richfield, also is a full-time letter carrier and seven-year member of Branch 9.

This year, she said, “we’re going back to our grassroots.”

Food collected by letter carriers will be delivered directly to local food-shelves and also will go to local churches which maintain an emergency food pantry.

(For several years prior to the COVID pandemic, food collected by the letter carriers food drive was collected at Cub Foods parking lots and delivered by semi-trailers to the Second Harvest Heartland warehouse for distribution to local foodshelves. This year, however, Second Harvest is not participating in the NALC food drive.)

“We’re going to be reaching out to local churches and local food pantries to see if they’re willing to accept food,” Mccaleb said. The goal is for each of Branch 9’s local stations to connect with a local foodshelf.

“It’s a challenge because there are 36 stations,” Mccaleb noted.

“We’re looking for volunteers,” she said, who can help with all the logistics: unload carrier trucks at local stations, help collect food along carrier routes, or help bring the food to local foodshelves.

“We could use any help,” Mccaleb urged. “Anyone who wants to be involved, we’re excited to work with them in any way.”

“It’s a fun event,” Mccaleb said. “Normally, we barbecue at the stations each year” and friends, family, NALC retirees and other volunteers turn-out to help.

The food drive also is looking for sponsors who will help to fund the purchase of printed bags for letter carriers to distribute along their routes to promote the food drive a few days before May 13.

“The food pantries right now really need the support of our food drive,” Mccaleb emphasized “The increased [grocery] prices are putting a weight on a lot of families.”

Letter carriers are out in the community six days a week, often talking with residents and seeing community needs first-hand. “We understand, we care,” Mccaleb said. “Giving back is at the core of what we do.”

To volunteer, or to become a food drive sponsor, contact the NALC Branch 9 office at 612-781-9858 or contact Latasha Mccaleb directly at latasham@branch9nalc.com.

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