Stamp Out Hunger is the easiest food drive ever: Leave food by your mailbox

Illustration for article titled Stamp Out Hunger is the easiest food drive ever: Leave food by your mailbox
Photo: Greg Doherty / Contributor (Getty Images)

Are you, like me, getting sort of old? If you are, perhaps you remember a time in the early ’90s when you and your family would pull together a bunch of non-perishable food items to leave by your mailbox for your mail carrier to find. Rest assured such a memory is not, in fact, the byproduct of some weird fever dream, but a very real food drive that’s been supporting food banks across the country since 1991.


Ah, Stamp Out Hunger! You’re so simple, yet so genius. The simple-genius concept is this: On the second Saturday in May, members of the National Association of Letter Carriers not only deliver the mail, but pick up any non-perishable food items left beside a mailbox. Those food items then go to a local food bank. That’s it. That’s the whole idea.

A quick caveat before you start boxing up all the cans of mixed vegetables that, admit it, you’re really never going to use: participation in the drive isn’t mandatory for NALC members, so it’s possible that either your postal worker or your post office as a whole has opted out. The organization suggests calling to confirm. That said, donations are also tax-deductible, so while you’re calling you can also ask which food bank you should list on your paperwork come next April.

Since the first pilot drive in 1991, your trusty postal workers have picked up a lot of canned goods and boxes of macaroni and cheese—they collected their one-billionth pound of food all the way back in 2010, for crying out loud. They’re back at it again Saturday, and it’s sort of magical, and come on let’s all leave food by our mailboxes, huh?

Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves TV, bourbon, and overanalyzing social interactions. Please buy her book, How TV Can Make You Smarter (Chronicle, 2020). It’s short!



I tried to participate for years and my carrier would never collect the bag.