USPS’ ‘Stamp Out Hunger’ Food Drive Underway

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The United States Postal Service is teaming up with the Des Moines Area Religious Council and Hy-Vee for the annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive.

Hy-Vee provided bags for postal workers to distribute on their routes and the carriers will pick them up Saturday morning.

This is the second year USPS is partnering with Hy-Vee.

“Once Hy-Vee came on board and we distributed those bags, we more than doubled. It was over 140,000 pounds of food that we collected in my branch,” Postal worker Vic McCuen said.

John Robinson, with DMARC, said this drive comes at a time of year when the pantries are really lacking because the holidays are over.

“It comes at a time when the holidays are over and it’s before summer time when we receive a lot of fresh donations from farms and local growers,” Robinson said.

He said they are looking for healthy, nonperishable items.

“We really try and focus on canned goods that are low in sodium, low in sugar, low sugar pasta sauces, low sodium soups, veggies, fresh veggies, proteins like canned tuna or chicken. If they are going to go with boxed items like pasta, we recommend whole grain pasta,” Robinson said.

According to the Partnership for Hunger Free Polk County, there are about 50,000 to 70,000 hungry people in Polk County at any given time.

“People seeking assistance can visit anyone of our food pantries, including our mobile pantry, and they can get a three day food supply every calendar month. The only thing they need is ID for themselves and identification for the people in their household. And that three day supply will be for the number of people in their household,” Robinson said.

To participate in the food drive you can either fill up the bag that was given out or another plastic bag and put it out by the mailbox.

“We get a lot of our old retirees come back to their old stations and help unload trucks or go out on the street and help unload our LLVs while our carriers are trying to carry mail. Because we get so much food, it’s hard to find the mail in with the food. So we try to alleviate some of that,” McCluen said.

DMARC is also asking for volunteers to help on Saturday night and Sunday morning at Marco Warehouse at 4709 121st Street in Urbandale.