DEAR ABBY: Studies have shown that hunger in America is a much more serious problem than most people realize. A staggering 30 million people (10.4 percent of the population in the United States) depend on food banks and other charities in order to eat. The need for food increases in the summer because many children are out of school where they often receive free breakfasts and lunches. For some of them, the free food offered by the schools is their main meal of the day.
Because food supplies at food banks and charities diminish during summer months due to increased demand for assistance, a program in which letter carriers accept food donations and deliver them to food banks has been instituted.
Last year, nearly 3.5 million pounds of food were donated by postal customers, making it the most successful single-day food drive to date.
This year, on Saturday, May 12, 100,000 letter carriers across the United States will collect food donations. The National Association of Letter Carriers is proud to sponsor this drive, our ninth nationwide food drive to feed hungry children and adults.
Abby, your readers can help by leaving unopened containers of nonperishable foods next to their mailboxes for the carriers to pick up and deliver to local food banks and charities to replenish their supplies for the summer. Your assistance in making this the most successful food drive to date will be greatly appreciated by letter carriers, as well as the less fortunate who might otherwise go to bed hungry. -- JILL LEMONS, FOOD DRIVE COORDINATOR, CANOGA PARK, CALIF.
DEAR JILL: I'm pleased to publicize your food drive. People often don't realize that many of those who utilize these community food shelves are not homeless indigents, but working-poor families who are unable to earn enough to cover their monthly expenses. It's shocking and deplorable.
Readers: Deserving people will appreciate your special delivery of food from the heart. Almost all of us can afford to leave a little something. I know I can depend on you.