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'Stamp Out Hunger' On Saturday



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If you’ve been out to check your mail this week, along with your bills, you probably found a plastic bag with a note attached.

That bag is a reminder of one of the biggest food drives in America happening on Saturday.

It’s known as the National Association of Letter Carriers ‘Stamp Out Hunger’ Food Drive, where letter carriers across the nation help collect food for those in need.

Each year on the second Saturday of May, letter carriers across the country don't just deliver the mail to mailboxes; they pick up something else from them too.

“When you go up the street and see the bags all lined up it's like you’re a little kid in an Easter egg hunt it's pretty cool,” said Eric Wicks, a letter carrier in Sioux Falls and local coordinator for the food drive.

For the past 20 years letter carriers in the United States have participated in ‘Stamp Out Hunger,’ one of the nation's largest food drives that benefits local food pantries.

Earlier this week, Sioux Falls letter carriers delivered 150,000 Hy-vee shopping bags to homes and apartments across the city and for the 21st year in a row, they will spend Saturday picking those bags up, with food donations inside.

“All you have to do is take the bag you found in your mail this week, (or) any other container you can find, fill it with non-perishable food items and put it out by your mail box, or wherever you pick up your mail, and a letter carrier or volunteer is going to pick that up and it goes to your local food pantry," explained Wicks.

Last year the Sioux Falls Food Pantry collected more than 86,000 pounds of food, enough to feed 70,000 families. This year the goal is even bigger.

“The goal with any food drive is obviously to beat last year’s goal, which would be fairly close to 88,000 pounds, but to break 90 to 100,000 pounds would be amazing," said John Geyer, manager of the Sioux Falls Food Pantry.

The food drive comes at the perfect time of year for the Sioux Falls food pantry. The last big food drives were during Christmas and Thanksgiving, which means by springtime, many of their shelves sit empty.

"We have a lot of food drive activity during the holidays, but in the spring and the summer, not so much. So it’s extremely important, this food drive," said Jim Dawson, Eastern Operations Manager for Feeding South Dakota.

While  the day might mean a little more work for those driving the mail truck, it means more food for those in need.

“It's extra work for the guys that are working that day, but it's a labor of love," said Wicks.

Canned soup and vegetables, pasta and rice are some of the items that are needed at the Sioux Falls Food Pantry.

You can also drop off any donations to your local Hy-Vee on Saturday.
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