Local food banks and hot meal sites are responding to an unprecedented need for emergency food among children, adults and seniors. Food bank visits in Pierce County have increased more than 40 percent in the past year.
During the first quarter of 2010, food banks responded to more than 267,351 visits, and hot meal sites provided over 185,908 meals. Emergency food providers are struggling to keep up with the extraordinary demand for food in our community. While local food programs strive to provide food to every person who requests it, recently they have been forced to give smaller quantities of food to their customers.
This week, we have an opportunity to join together and drastically increase the amount of food available for our neighbors in need. On Saturday, the National Association of Letter Carriers will conduct its annual food drive, which stocks the shelves of food banks throughout Pierce County.
This is the largest annual food drive in our community, offering residents the opportunity to engage in the fight against hunger. The NALC Food Drive provides a way for our community to join together to see that no person goes hungry. Our goal is to collect more than 400,000 pounds of food.
Please join me in picking up nonperishable items – such as peanut butter, tuna, canned fruits and vegetables – and placing the filled bag at your mailbox on Saturday. Letter carriers and volunteers will see that all donated food is distributed to a local food bank in Pierce County.
(McGovern is executive director of the Emergency Food Network.)