Valley letter carriers to collect food donations during Saturday - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Valley letter carriers to collect food donations during Saturday's deliveries

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The United States Postal Service will team up on Saturday in more than 10,000 communities, including right here in the Valley, to combat the epidemic of hunger. 

The National Association of Letter Carriers will host it's 26th annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive on Saturday, May 12th. 

The annual campaign collects millions of pounds of food donations and delivers them to food pantries across the nation. Last year, letter carriers in the Mahoning Valley collected 211,000 pounds of food. 

All of the food stays in the community in which it was donated according to the NALC. 

In order to participate, The United States Postal Service asks that community members place non-perishable food donations in a box or bag near their mailbox. While the letter carrier is delivering mail, they'll simply pick up the donation. 

The NACL suggests making sure donations are set out early to make sure they are picked up. In addition, community members are advised that their mail delivery schedule may be a little off from normal since letter carriers are picking up donations and may need more time at each home. 

"A good rule of thumb is to have the bags by your mailbox by 9 a.m.," says the NACL. 

The top requested non-perishable food items are: cereal, pasta, pasta sauce or spaghetti sauce, rice, canned fruits and vegetables, canned meals (such as soups, chili and pasta), 100% juice, peanut butter, macaroni & cheese, canned protein (tuna, chicken and turkey), beans (canned or dry). Those who want to participate can also donate healthy, low-sodium, low-sugar items such as beans, oatmeal and other whole grains, and canola or olive oil.

However, the NACL asks that community members do not donate frozen food, homemade food or home-canned items. "Please do not donate items that have expired or are in glass containers. In keeping with good food-handling and food-safety procedures, food that is opened, damaged, out of code or does not have the official ingredients included will be discarded by the food bank in the sorting process," they continue. 

For packaging donations, letter carriers say no special packaging or bags are required: "Paper is sturdy and tends to hold more food, while plastic holds up better if it gets wet (in the rain, etc.). Cloth bags or boxes are also fine. So it's your choice. And most bags and boxes can be easily recycled. Your letter carrier will gladly take anything you leave out!"

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