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Brooklyn Letter Carriers Team Up with Food For Survival to 'Stamp Out Hunger'

April 30, 2002, Brooklyn, NY — To help fill the widening gap in New York City between the number of hungry people and the amount of food available, the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), in conjunction with the Postal Service in Brooklyn, will conduct their 10th Annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive. Food collected during the food drive, running for one week from Saturday, May 4 to Saturday May 11, will be provided to Food For Survival, New York City's only food bank, for distribution to over 1,200 community food programs throughout the five boroughs.

More than one-third of New Yorkers on line at the city's soup kitchens and food pantries live in Brooklyn. In the midst of record numbers of New Yorkers turning to food assistance, many food programs throughout the city are forced to operate beyond capacity and are in dire need of resources. In response to this heightened need, Food For Survival is distributing historic levels of food to soup kitchens, food pantries and shelters citywide. But the food bank is experiencing a 54 percent drop-off in charitable food donations since January 1st compared to the same period last year.

"We are grateful to the letter carriers for their commitment to this annual food drive event," says Lucy Cabrera, Ph.D., President and CEO of Food For Survival. "With the decline in the economy, the rise in unemployment among of low-wage workers, and more and more people turning to food assistance programs to feed their families, the need for donated food is more critical than ever. It is wonderful to see the Brooklyn community join hands to help."

Throughout the week of the food drive, Brooklyn residents are asked to deposit nonperishable food donations in receptacles located in the borough's 37 letter carrier stations. On Saturday, May 11th, Food For Survival will send trucks to pick up all the food donated throughout Brooklyn for distribution to food programs citywide.

From elementary school students to grocery shoppers, participation in Brooklyn's "Stamp Out Hunger" event has become a true community effort. For example, two elementary schools, one in Bushwick and another in East New York, will run a week-long collection to be picked up by the postal service on Friday, May 10th.

"The cross community involvement is what really makes this food drive a true success," says Joe De Rossi, Executive Vice-President of the Brooklyn branch of the National Association of Letter Carriers. "Over the last eight years, we have seen more kids and adults from all over Brooklyn participating. This is the least we can do to help Food For Survival assist our part of the city."

In New York City, the letter carriers food drive raised more than 100,000 pounds of food last year. Food For Survival repackaged and distributed the food to community food programs that, in turn, were able to provide over 78,000 balanced, nutritious meals to needy New Yorkers from the donations. Nationally, last year's food drive resulted in 70.1 million pounds of food - the largest one-day collection of food donations in the nation's history.

Food For Survival, a member of America's Second Harvest, was founded in 1983 to coordinate the procurement and distribution of food donations from manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and government agencies to organizations providing free food to the hungry. Today, Food For Survival is the largest food bank and one of the largest distributors of free fresh produce in the country, providing the food for more than 76 million meals served to needy New Yorkers each year. Food For Survival provides more than 51 million pounds of food annually to more than 1,200 nonprofit community food programs — including soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters, low-income day care centers, Kids Cafes, and senior, youth and rehabilitative centers — throughout the five boroughs of New York City.

Food For Survival works to end hunger by organizing food, information, and support for community survival and dignity.

Lisa Jakobsberg

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