Stamp Out Hunger food drive set for Saturday

File Photo From left, Kerry Conger of Highmark West Virginia and Steve Taylor of the National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 481 pose with 667 pounds of food collected by Highmark for the 2018 Stamp Out Hunger food drive to benefit local food pantries. Stamp Out Hunger will be held Saturday across the country, the 27th annual collection. More than 12 tons of food were locally collected in 2018.

PARKERSBURG — The annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive, sponsored by the National Association of Letter Carriers and the United States Postal Service, will be held on Saturday.

This is the 27th year for the initiative that is annually held on the second Saturday in May. More than a billion pounds of food have been collected since the drive was established.

About 12 tons of food were collected in the Parkersburg area in 2018, spokesman Bill Kirby said. The local collection has exceeded 20,000 pounds for several years.

“It was very near or slightly over 24,000 pounds,” Kirby said.

Postal customers are encouraged to leave non-perishable food items at their mail boxes to be collected by carriers and volunteers from Local Branch 481 of the Letter Carriers, which represents carriers from Parkersburg, Vienna, Ravenswood, Williamstown, St Marys, Paden City, Sistersville and New Martinsville.

Locally, food can also be taken to the collection point at 2900 Camden Ave. in Parkersburg, the Camden Avenue Church of Christ, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Kirby said. Volunteers will collect the items and the donor won’t have to get out of the car, he said.

“All they have to do is drive it up,” Kirby said.

All items collected on Saturday will be sorted and distributed to food banks, pantries, shelters and other participating organizations, he said.

Most of the food pantries in Wood County, except for a couple, are participating, Kirby said. Old Man Rivers and The Children’s Home Society are among agencies that also participate, Kirby said.

About 1,500 Postal Service branches and Letter Carriers in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and the Virgin Islands nationwide are participating. Stamp Out Hunger is spearheaded and supported by the Postal Service, the Letter Carriers, the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, AFL-CIO, United Way, Valassis and Valpak Direct Marketing Systems.

More than 100 local people are volunteering in the event, about 40 at the collection point alone, Kirby said. Carriers, who can be assisted in collecting the food, often recruit their wives and children to help, Kirby said.