The National Letter Carriers’ Food Drive, considered the largest in the nation, will collect shelf-stable food donations from homes across Snohomish County this Saturday, May 14th. Yellow bags with the logos of the organizing agencies will be, or have been delivered to every residential address in the county. The community is encouraged to fill these bags with nonperishable foods, such as pasta, rice, canned goods, boxed meals, peanut butter and jelly, and snacks and leave them by their mailboxes this Saturday for their USPS letter carrier to pick up.
Much needed items always include things for an entire family like, boxed meals, canned soups, vegetables and fruits, pasta, and diapers (sizes 4,5,6), and feminine hygiene items. While pet food may seem a stretch, there are many in the community that live alone and are in need. Many of those have a furry companion that is their only friend. Often, they would rather share or give their entire meal to them rather than let them go hungry.
Since the drive was postponed in both 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, the dates on the bags may read “Saturday May 9th, 2020.” The bags were ordered in bulk – about 330,000 in total – in 2020, and are being used now to avoid waste. They are made of plant-based plastic and are biodegradable.
“Please be sure to put out food on Saturday the 14th,” says Jessica Moore, Director of Development at Volunteers of America Western Washington and a coordinator of the event. “With inflation, gas, and housing costs rising, more and more of our neighbors are coming to our food banks for help. Any donations of non-perishable food that are not expired would help the food banks in our communities tremendously.” And, of course in lieu of putting out a bag, cash donations are always accepted. These are used to purchase needed items for the food banks that are in short supply. You can do so at VOAWW Donate.
In the past two months alone, VOAWW has seen a 24% increase in its own two food banks in Everett and Sultan, and Casino Road food pantries. This does not include the 17 other food banks and 18 partner meal programs it helps support. This can be attributed in a large part to rising inflation, gas prices, and housing costs. So far, thanks to the generosity of community and neighbors, we have had enough support to serve every request.
To that end, and to keep up with demand, VOAWW opened a 60,000 sq ft facility in Arlington in October 2021. With help from WSDA, Food Lifeline and local farmers, VOAW has provided 5,415,975 pounds of food across Snohomish County in 2021, accounting for 34% of food given through the Coalition.
The Letter Carriers’ Food Drives is a joint project led and organized by the letter carriers’ union, the National Association of Letter Carriers, the Snohomish, and Island County Labor Council, the United States Postal Service, Volunteers of America Western Washington, and the United Way of Snohomish County.