Kaua‘i postal workers will join more than 240,000 mail carriers across the nation, Saturday in the Postal Service’s effort to “Stamp Out Hunger” by collecting food donations throughout Hawai‘i and across the country.
The Saturday collection 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 Food Bank, states a USPS release.
Wes Perreira of the Hawai‘i Food Bank’s Kaua‘i Branch, said the National Association of Letter Carriers is independently holding the food drive and the Hawai‘i Food Bank’s Kaua‘i branch is simply the recipient of the drive.
“The Hawai‘i Food Bank’s Kaua‘i Branch will be distributing the food amongst its 24 agencies across Kaua‘i,” Perreira said in an email. “Some of those agencies are Church of the Pacific, St. William’s Parish, St. Catherine’s Parish, Hale Ho‘omalu, St. Michael’s and All Angels, Aloha Church, the Salvation Army, Kalaheo Missionary Church and Nana’s House.”
Perreira said mail recipients will receive a blue bag in the mail this week and are encouraged to fill it with food, which will go to the needy people in their community. Those with post office boxes can drop the filled bags at their respective post offices and those who have home delivery can simply place the bags in their mailboxes.
Last year, more than 7,800 pounds of food was collected on Kaua‘i with the Kapa‘a Post Office leading the charge with 2,807 pounds of food collected.
Nationwide, 70.2 million pounds of food was collected during the 2011 NALC food drive and in the 19 years since the campaign started, more than one billion pounds of food has been collected.
“The NALC Food Drive is a big help because it always results in a lot of canned protein items which are our ‘Most Wanted’ items,” said Mike Kajiwara, Hawai‘i Foodbank director of product donations.
He said the most desired food donations include canned meats or tuna, canned meals such as chili, stew or spaghetti, canned soups and canned fruits and vegetables.
“Our goal in Hawai‘i is to top last year’s totals, but with the weak economy we’ll be happy to collect any amount of food,” said Adele Yoshikawa, Pearl City carrier and NALC Food Drive Coordinator. “Our donation totals last year was 13 percent less than the previous year. The good news is the quality of food donations has increased as the quantity has decreased.”
She said the food drive is a wonderful opportunity for the postal service to demonstrate to our communities that our Postal Service does more than deliver the mail.