CHICAGO (CBS) — On Saturday, letter carriers will not only deliver mail but they’ll also pick up packages to help the hungry.
The 26th annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, sponsored by the National Association of Letter Carriers, will collect food donations from homes across the area and around the country.
In 2017, more than 600,000 pounds of food were collected, more than four times the amount in 2016. This year, Chicago letter carriers hope to get more than a million pounds.
According to the U.S. Postal Service the donated food will stay local, “going to pantries in the zip code area where collected.”
People are encouraged to leave bags of non-perishable food items near a mailbox before their mail arrives. All non-perishable items are welcome but there is a need for high protein foods, including peanut butter, salmon and beans.
Canned fruits and vegetables, whole grain, low sugar cereals, macaroni and cheese dinners and 100% fruit juice also top the list needed items.
The USPS cautions people not to give the following: rusty or unlabeled cans, glass containers, homemade items, alcoholic beverages as well as opened or used items.
Last year, 75 million pounds of food were collected across the country.
According to Feed America, the country’s largest hunger-relief organization, more than one in six American households do not have enough food to eat. That includes 13 million children.