Carriers picking up food donations Saturday

CHAMPAIGN — Letter carriers across America will be taking part in the nation's largest food drive of the year Saturday, but they need everyone's help.

For this 20th annual Stamp Out Hunger campaign, the Postal Service is requesting its customers to leave a sturdy bag of non-perishable food next to their mailboxes for letter carriers to pick up on Saturday.

Examples of good food items to leave include canned products such as canned soups, meats, fish, vegetables, fruits and juices, along with boxed foods, pasta and rice.

Please don't leave anything in a glass container, the Postal Service requests. Glass containers can break and be a hazard.

The food collected by local letter carriers is a big benefit for the Eastern Illinois Foodbank and the hungry people it serves in a 14-county area, says foodbank Director of Development Cheryl Precious.

"It's typically our largest food drive of the year," she said. "It's tens of thousands of pounds."

The Stamp Out Hunger campaign is joint venture of the National Association of Letter Carriers and Campbell Soup Co.

Last year, postal customers across the nation donated 70.2 million pounds of food, and it was the eighth consecutive year at least 70 million pounds of food were donated, according to Campbell Soup Co.

There is a need for food assistance in virtually every community in America, with more than 16 million children — more than one in five — facing hunger, the company says.

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