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The Crossville Post Office will take part in the nationwide Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive May 11. Held annually on the second Saturday in May, the food drive gives residents the opportunity to help local food banks by putting out food donations that letter carriers collect as they deliver mail along their postal routes.

This marks the 27th year that the U.S. Postal Service and the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) have teamed up to help "stamp out hunger" in America. The food drive is one of the most successful in the nation and comes at a critical time for food banks. 

Food banks receive the bulk of their donations during the winter holiday season. By May, their stocks are nearly depleted, but this food drive replenishes the food banks as the summer months approach — when children are no longer in school with access to food programs.

Last year, carriers nationwide collected more than 70 million pounds of food. It was their 15th consecutive drive surpassing 70 million pounds. The total donations received since the drive began in 1993 now stand at almost 1.6 billion pounds.

In Cumberland County, more than 9 tons of non-perishable food was collected and distributed to eight local food pantries in 2018. This was a decrease of about 8,912 pounds from the previous year.

To take part in the upcoming Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, just place non-perishable food items in a bag or box by your mailbox for food pantry volunteers or mailmen to collect on May 11. Donations can also be taken directly to the lobby of the Crossville Post Office. Please note the plastic or paper bag that some carriers put in customers’ mailboxes may not be available this year. The only notification may be a notice the size of a postcard that a carrier may or may not put into the mailbox.

Popular items to donate include cereal, pasta and pasta sauce, rice, canned fruit and vegetables, canned soups, chili, 100-percent juice, peanut butter, macaroni and cheese, beans and canned meats like tuna, chicken and turkey.

Please do not include the following items: homemade foods; anything that has been opened, that may require refrigeration or is in a glass container; expired food items; pet foods; toiletries or other personal care items; and money (consider making a donation to a charity directly).

All food pantries that receive donations are located in Cumberland County and are staffed by local volunteers. All donations will go directly from your mailbox or the Post Office lobby to the food pantries, without any money being involved.

For additional information on the food drive, go to the NALC's website at www.nalc.org.