Letter carriers in more than 10,000 communities across America will join forces to help stamp out hunger.

On Saturday, May 10, postal employees in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands will collect nonperishable food items and deliver them to local community food banks, pantries and shelters across the country. They will be participating in the world's largest annual single-day food drive.

This year's theme, "Building on a Billion," celebrates the 1.3 billion pounds the national food drive has collected since it began in 1993. Last year, carriers collected 74 million pounds of food. Feeding America, USPS, the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), the National Rural Letter Carriers' Association (NRLCA) and the Campbell Soup Company are among the food drive's sponsors.

Customers are urged to place a sturdy bag containing nonperishable foods such as canned soup, canned vegetables, pasta, rice or cereal next to their mailboxes prior to regular mail delivery on Saturday. The letter carrier will do the rest, taking the food to the post office where it is sorted and delivered to the food pantry.

An estimated 35 million people are at risk of hunger in America, including 12 million children. In late spring, most food banks begin running out of donations received during the holiday period. This drive is one way people can join the U.S. Postal Service to help stamp out hunger in their own community.

Join me and the many postal employees nationwide by supporting this endeavor. Now more than ever, local food banks are strained because the economy is affecting large numbers of families and they can not keep up with the demand.

Any donation is worthwhile and appreciated, so please contribute and help the less fortunate.

Gary Luca

Postmaster Ayer