By Dan Taivalkoski
Executive Director, Racine County Food Bank
The 18th annual NALC National Food Drive to “Stamp Out Hunger” is the largest one-day food drive in the nation. Carriers collected a record 73.4 million pounds of food in last year’s drive. Keep an eye out for a donation bag and a reminder postcard in your mailbox to be delivered in early May, and don’t forget to donate!
Locally, food is collected for the Racine County Food Bank, “The Food Pantry’s Food Pantry,” by NALC Branch 436 with help from the U.S. Postal Service, the United Way of Racine County, the AFL-CIO, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 767, Great Northern Corporation and the Racine Founders Rotary Club to name a few. Space does not permit thanks to all of the individuals and organizations that contribute their time and talents to this important event. Last year, the Racine County Food Bank was the beneficiary of over 70,000 pounds of non-perishable food generated by this food drive.
An estimated 30 million people face hunger every day in America, including more than 12 million children. This year’s drive is extremely important to the hundreds who have lost their jobs in Racine County and hundreds more who face economic uncertainty. As a result, the goal for the May 8 collection is 100,000 pounds of food; a goal that our community can certainly achieve.
This drive, our largest, provides the Food Bank with ten to fifteen percent of all of the food that we distribute to our affiliate pantries, shelters and meal programs throughout the county for the entire year. Donations collected from this food drive help the Racine County Food Bank feed the hungry all summer long. Summer is an especially high-risk period for hunger because many children in need are not receiving regular meals in school. With our assistance, our affiliates provide an average of more than 60,000 meals each and every month.
When considering your donation, we ask that you avoid items packaged in glass; one broken jar can damage hundreds of other donations. In addition, please do not donate items that have gone past the expiration date. If it’s not something that you would feed to your family, we don’t want to give it to ours.
Finally, while we will gladly take any non-perishable food that you have to offer, you can make your donation extra special by donating one or more of the high-protein and nutrient packed items on our “Super Six” most needed items list which includes: peanut butter, canned meat, canned fish, beef stew, canned fruit or fruit juice and canned pasta with meat.