ELKINS - A local government agency is doing its part to help fight hunger in the area and across the nation.
On Saturday, the U.S. Postal Service letter carriers in Elkins, Beverly and Parsons will be collecting food as part of the 22nd annual National Association of Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive campaign.
Each year on the second Saturday in May, letter carriers across the country collect non-perishable food donations from postal customers. The donations go directly to local food pantries to help provide food to people in need in the community.
"It is a great opportunity for folks to contribute and the good thing about it is that, locally, people will benefit because we give the food to local food pantries," Elkins Postmaster Danny Hamrick said. "As good as it is nationally, what's really nice about it is that people benefit locally."
Last year, more than 74 million pounds of food was collected nationally and helped feed an estimated 30 million people. Over the 21-year history of the campaign, the drive has collected well over one billion pounds of food thanks to postal services from across the nation, including Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The need for food donations is great throughout the country. Currently, 49 million Americans - 1 in 6 - are unsure where their next meal is coming from. Sixteen million of those affected are children and nearly five million seniors, over the age of 60, suffer from food insecurity, many of them living on a fixed income.
The timing of the food drive is crucial because many food banks and pantries receive the majority of their donations around the holidays and by spring their inventories are becoming depleted.
Those who wish to participate in the campaign are urged to leave a non-perishable food donation in a bag, beside or inside your mailbox on May 10 and let your letter carrier take care of the rest.