Go Postal Tomorrow and Donate Food

Here’s a no-brainer: While brewing coffee tomorrow (Saturday) morning, open the cabinets and take a look at what you’ve been meaning to eat down. Pull the stuff from the shelves and fill a shopping bag.

Walk outside and place your bag of non-perishables by the front door or wherever your postal carrier drops off the mail. And that’s it -- you’ve done your good deed for the day.

It’s all part of the 17th Annual Stamp Out Hunger Drive, hosted by The National Association of Letter Carriers and the US Postal Service. While delivering your mail tomorrow, those postal elves will also pick up your donations, which will be distributed to various food banks and pantries in your area.

More than 73 million pounds of food were collected during last year’s food drive, and the elves are hoping to do even better this year, when the number of hungry Americans has climbed to a historical high.

According to the Food Research and Action Center, as of February, (the most recent statistics available), more than 32.5 million people were receiving federal food assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This is the highest number on record.

A December 2008 survey conducted by hunger relief organization Feeding America indicates a 30 percent spike in demand for emergency food assistance, which includes food banks, pantries and soup kitchens.

To say that your donations are urgently needed is an understatement. Who needs six cans of garbanzo beans, anyway?

So about Saturday: Nothing expired or in glass. Yes to unopened pasta, rice and whole grains, cereal and canned tuna, soup, tomato puree. You get the idea. Who needs a Twitter wake up call in the morning?

P.S. While typing this piece, I stepped out to retrieve the mail; in my mailbox was a blue plastic handle bag issued by the USPS specifically for the food drive. NOW you really don't have an excuse...

By Kim ODonnel |  May 8, 2009; 7:00 AM ET Community
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Kim - Forgive me if I missed it but is there a certain time the goods need to be out? I got a postcard about this in the mail and am excited to see how it all goes. Thanks!

Posted by: FormerDC | May 8, 2009 8:08 AM

GREAT! Will do. And, I love my Post Office People. Thanks!

Posted by: CentreofNowhere | May 8, 2009 9:18 AM

Kim - We'll take a look, though EDF did damage to misc cans in the larder.

Moderator: please note nowgoal forum spam (it's a betting site).

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 8, 2009 10:22 AM

Hey FormerDC, I believe the earlier the better. The USPS-issued bag I received in my mailbox suggests putting out donations by 8 a.m. Plan B: Take to your local post office. Let me know what you see in your own neighborhood!

Posted by: Kim ODonnel | May 8, 2009 10:46 AM

Sorry to make an off-topic comment, but I wasn't sure you'd look back at older posts.

Just made the banana cake recipe from last Friday. Oh my goodness. SOOO delicious. And so easy. I added a little vanilla too, though I'm not sure it made a huge difference.

I took your recommendation to use parchment paper, something I never think to do even though I've got a whole roll of the stuff. My question is, can I use parchment for other cooking but not baking? I only see it recommended for things like cookies, but could I use it for, say, baked mac & cheese? Turkey loaf? Would love not to soak those pans...

Thanks again for the luscious banana recipe!

Posted by: patriciawsf | May 8, 2009 11:32 AM

patriciawsf, So glad you enjoyed the cake -- it's a keeper! Re: parchment paper: You sure can use it for other things. Not so sure if you want to use it for anything you want to yield a crust -- so mac&cheese might be out, or anything that's super oily (where will rendered fat go...), but it's definitely worth experimenting with.
P.S. I do look at older posts, fyi...

Posted by: Kim ODonnel | May 8, 2009 11:50 AM

Great reminder Kim, thanks. I filled my bag this morning to get a jump start for tomorrow. I'm pals with the director of our local food bank, and he says that these types of drives yield the best food for our food bank -- he said people tend to put in family-friendly foods vs. the tons and tons of canned green beans or mushroom soup that show up at food-drive events. Also, he told me once that among the items people want are things like mayo, salad dressing, ketchup, mustard, salsa and the like. And cooking oil. So I try to load up on those types of items when they are super cheap and donate them. And try to donate brand names. Just cuz people are poor doesn't mean they like No Name Canned Goods any more than I do. Also, they get stuff like pasta, boxed mac and cheese (vile), flour, pancake mix, etc. as commodity goods, so these are not as valuable.

Posted by: khachiya1 | May 8, 2009 12:30 PM

Khachiya1, thanks so much for your first-hand report -- so valuable. Cooking oil is a great idea -- it's so expensive these days. Let me know what you see in your neck o' the woods over the weekend.

Posted by: Kim ODonnel | May 8, 2009 2:21 PM

I disagree that no-name canned goods are inferior. I simply don't see a reason to spend more for a name brand can of corn when the contents are exactly the same. Why be an elitist? I'm sorry you don't like store brands, but I think the majority of hungry people would be equally as happy with either variety.

Posted by: gcexpat | May 8, 2009 2:53 PM

I think it would be a good rule only to donate something you would consider eating or serving. I won't compromise on some ingredients: pasta, canned tomatoes, black beans (love Goya). For other staples, I think it's a waste of money (salt, sugar). I'll add a six pack of something to my weekend Costco run for the drive.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 8, 2009 5:33 PM

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