It’s Instacart in reverse: Delaware’s letter carriers will be picking up food at home mailboxes Saturday and taking it away to donate to neighbors in need via the Food Bank of Delaware.
This will be the 31st year that the Stamp Out Hunger Postal Food Drive will take place across the country. It’s a program of the National Association of Letter Carriers.
It’s also the single largest one-day food drive for the Food Bank of Delaware.
Before mail delivery on Saturday, postal custumors may place a bag full of nonperishable items by their mailboxes, and their letter carriers will take them away after delivering mail.
No donations will be ignored, even if the route truck fills up.
“We have letter carrier volunteers that we send out in to the communities where the donations are too much for the carriers to carry or where there just is not enough room in the trucks to put it all,” said Aishia Tolson, who has been the food drive coordinator for the NALC Newark Branch 1977 since 2012.
“In that time, no food has ever been left behind,” she said.
Carriers are still delivering mail and packages while they are picking up, she noted.
“In the event a subdivision or other community does get missed, I personally have gone out and collected the residual donations myself,” she said.
Some customers forget to put out donations or are unable to on that day.
“We continue to accept those donations for the entire week after the drive,” she said. “All they need to do is leave the donations next to their mailbox for pick up.”
Most customers should receive bright orange bags in the mail to use for donations, but the letter carriers will take them in other bags or containers.
The drive also has donation bins set up in lobbies at the Newark Post Office at 401 Ogletown Road for anyone who prefers to deliver donations and for P.O. Box customers.
The Food Bank specifically requests canned fruits and vegetables, peanut butter, canned meats such as tuna fish, canned soups, cereal and spaghetti that are within their use-by dates.
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience.
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