Stamp out hunger with annual one-day food drive

20th annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive in Ottumwa

The National Association of Mail Carriers is hosting their 20th annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive in towns across the Heartland and across the country this Saturday.

Stamp Out Hunger is the nation's largest single-day food drive. Over the past 20 years, they have collected over one billion pounds of food that has been distributed to those in need throughout the United States.

"The economy has been bad and people are out of work and people are struggling and so to be able to bring food in and be able to distribute to those that are the most needy is very important," said Randall Lien, coordinator of Ottumwa's program.

The majority of the food collected stays right here in the Heartland and goes to the Food Bank of Southern Iowa. In Wapello County, 14.8% of the population is food insecure, which measures out to over 5,000 people.

"We're looking for non-perishable products, and canned goods are obviously one of the easiest non perishable because they come in their own packaging, they're not easily damaged," Lien said. "We do take boxed foods and things like that also, which are lighter but sometimes more bulky."

It is especially important to have high donation numbers into the summer months, as children who come from food insecure families do not get their lunches provided to them by schools.

This year's goal for the Stamp Out Hunger drive is 6,000 pounds of food in the Ottumwa area. Just one can counts; if every household in Ottumwa donated one can, it would equal out to three tons of food to donate.

Donating is simple, just collect food to donate and place it in a bag by your mailbox on the morning of Saturday, May 12. Your mail carrier will collect it and add it to the area's donations.

For more information on the food drive, visit the

Stamp Out Hunger website

. For a list of participating areas, click here.

For locations in Missouri participating in summer food programs,

click here