As food drive approaches, nation's needy feel pinch
The nation's hungry families-including millions of children-are depending on the 14th annual NALC Food Drive on Saturday, May 13 to replenish supplies at community food banks, pantries and shelters that have had a particularly hard time since the record-setting 2005 drive.

More than 1,300 NALC branches nationwide have already signed up to collect food donations from postal customers on the 13th, the customary second Saturday in May. Many will have the assistance of their colleagues in the National Rural Letter Carriers Assocation, along with other postal employees, family members and other volunteers.

"Together we can top last years 71.3 million pounds of food. Let's set a new record," NALC President Bill Young said, urging union members to support the event--the largest oneday food drive in the nation, and probably the world. According to America's Second the national food bank network, the lastest data on hunger in America shows:

Nearly 14 million children lived in homes rated "food insecure" in 2004, meaning they were hungry or at the risk of hunger.

Researchers have found that even mild under-nutrition suffered by young children during critical periods of growth may affect brain development as well as overall physical development.
About 16.9 million low-income children received free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program. However, only slightly more than 2 million of these same income-eligible children participated in the Summer Food Service Program, suggesting mlllions were hungry over summer vacation.

Add to those statistics the lingering impact of Hurricane Katrina, both in Gulf Coast states and numerous other places where refugees have relocated, and the seriousness of hunger in America is apparent.

As branches gear up for the drive, major supporters of the 2006 effort are doing the same. The Postal Service and Campbell Soup Company are preparing over 110 million postcards that will be sent to NALC branches for delivery in early May to postal customers. Valpak, the direct-mail marketing firm, is filling packets to send to some 40 million households in March and April promoting the drive.

Campbell Soup also has enlisted the famed Harlem Globetrotters to publicize the carriers' effort, and officials of United Way of America, the AFLCIO and America's Second Harvest are working with branch coordinators to make this the most successful drive ever.

In mid-February, a special packet was mailed to branch food drive coordinators that included a new, short video on DVD about the food drive; an updated coordinator's manual: forms for ordering both English and Spanish postcards; and information ona special inflatable soup can that each branch will receive from Campbell Soup to help promote the drive.

Postcard order forms are due no later then March 10. Orders for copies of the food drive poster featuring the Family Circus artwork of Bill Keane are due no later then April 10.

Question about the 2006 NALC National Food Drive
Should be directed to National Coordinator
Drew Von Bergen, NALC Director of Public Relations, at 202-662-2489
or by e-mail at vonbergen@nalc.org
For the lastest information, including a list of registered branches, check the food drive section of the NALC's website:
www.nalc.org/commun/fooddrive



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