The U.S. Postal Service’s food drive in Hawai‘i, “Stamp Out Hunger,” is going virtual.
The 30th annual National Association of Letter Carriers’ (NALC) Food Drive, scheduled for May 14, is led by mail carriers across the nation.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced changes to the food drive in Hawai‘i, as it has to many events and initiatives. This year Hawai‘i mail carriers are asking customers to support the drive “virtually,” via monetary donations rather than donating actual food items.
“Although the outlook regarding the COVID pandemic appears to be improving, we decided that it would be best to conduct the food drive virtually this year,” said NALC Hawai‘i Spokesperson Adele Yoshikawa. “This eliminates any concerns about contact between our customers and our employees.”
Yoshikawa said the virtual drive will enable carriers to maximize the impact of customer support for those in need.
“In the past, a customer may have used $20 to purchase and donate one 25-pound bag of rice,” Yoshikawa said. “But, that same $20 donated virtually can be used to purchase 240 pounds of food, or 25 entire meals.”
Hawai‘i food drive supporters are asked to text “NALC” to “71777.” Those who do so receive a link to a Hawaii “Stamp Out Hunger” web page that invites them to provide financial support.
The NALC “Stamp Out Hunger” Food Drive is the nation’s largest one-day effort to combat hunger and is held to support the mission of community food banks such as the Hawai‘i Foodbank. Nationwide, 175,000 mail carriers have collected more than 1.75 billion pounds of food during the campaign’s first 29 years.
The Hawai‘i Foodbank, through its network of island food banks and their local food pantries and meal programs, provides food assistance to more than 123,000 households statewide. Approximately 287,000 Hawaii residents, including 47,894 keiki and more than 46,000 kupuna, receive such assistance.
“This annual food drive demonstrates how the Postal Service goes beyond just delivering the mail to helping those in our communities who are less fortunate,” Yoshikawa said.