Ann Arbor, MI May 15, 2012 ― Washtenaw County letter carriers were seeing orange this past Saturday as they collected thousands of orange shopping bags filled with non-perishable food items as part of the annual National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) and the National Rural Letter Carriers (NRLCA) Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive. The orange bags provided by Food Gatherers, United Way of Washtenaw County and Bank of Ann Arbor, were delivered by letter carriers to homes across the county as a reminder to participate in the drive. The result, a record breaking 107,819 pounds of food, was collected for Food Gatherers, a nearly 200% increase over the previous year’s drive.
The Stamp Out Hunger food drive, held on the second Saturday in May, has become the nation’s largest single-day food drive benefitting Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. Now in its 20th year, the annual food drive has grown from a regional to a national effort that provides assistance to the millions of Americans struggling to put food on the table. This year’s Stamp Out Hunger food drive broke Washtenaw County’s record which was 75,031 pounds in 2008.
“The City Letter Carriers of the National Association of Letter Carriers, Br 434 and the Rural Letter Carriers of the National Rural Letter Carriers Association would like thank everyone who donated food to make our Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive in Washtenaw County a huge success. We are overwhelmed by your generosity,” said Bill Dawson, President NALC Branch 434. “Many thanks to Food Gatherers and to the United Way for their efforts in getting the word out about the annual food drive, and to Bank of Ann Arbor for supplying the bags which you all so generously filled.”
The need for food assistance exists in every community in America, no matter how rich or poor. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s annual study measuring food security in the United States, the number of Americans living in food insecure homes reached nearly 49 million in 2011 (the most recent year that such data is available). In Washtenaw County, 1 in 7 individuals – and an alarming 1 in 6 children – are at risk of hunger.
Shopping bags provided by Food Gatherers, the United Way of Washtenaw County and Bank of Ann Arbor were part of a new initiative to remind residents to participate in the drive. The shopping bags included messaging for United Way 2-1-1, a referral line for individuals seeking information about and referrals to human services such as emergency food assistance, senior care services, mortgage foreclosure assistance, and housing and utility resources.
The National Association of Letter Carriers is the union of city delivery letter carriers working for the United States Postal Service founded in 1889. Today, the NALC maintains its tradition as a vibrant union of over 300,000 members in all 50 states and other U.S. jurisdictions. For more information, visit http://nalc.org/commun/foodrive/index.html.
Food Gatherers is Washtenaw County’s food bank and food rescue program, distributing more than 5 million pounds of food to more than 150 non-profit programs serving low-income adults, seniors and children annually. Through Food Gatherers Community Kitchen, more than 100,000 plates of nutritious food are served to people in need and last year 15 students graduated from our Community Kitchen Job Training Program, a culinary training program for at-risk or homeless youth. For a list of food donors and recipient agencies or to learn how you can become involved in the fight against hunger locally, please visit the web at www.foodgatherers.org or call (734) 761-2796.
United Way of Washtenaw County is a connecting point between community members and local human service organizations. Through its central role it consolidates, collaborates and leverages support to make every donation have more impact. In 2011, it raised more than $5.5 million to support local agencies that enable access for all residents to health, education, and stable income, improving the quality of life throughout Washtenaw County. For more information visit www.uwWashtenaw.org.
Bank of Ann Arbor is a locally owned and operated bank with total assets and assets under management of over $1.5 billion, serving people and businesses in the Ann Arbor area with offices at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Washington Street in downtown Ann Arbor, in the Traver Village Shopping Center, at the corner of Stadium and Liberty streets, on West Ellsworth Road in Pittsfield Township, on West Michigan Avenue in downtown Ypsilanti and in Plymouth on Ann Arbor Road. Its newest office will open on Michigan Avenue in downtown Saline in late 2012. The web site is www.boaa.com. Visit us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
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