Mail Carriers, Volunteers Work to Stamp Out Hunger

By Nadia Crow, Reporter

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By Ellen Kurt

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The largest one-day food drive packed up thousands of pounds of food Saturday. The Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is a national campaign where letter carriers and volunteers collect non-perishable food items people put out near their mailboxes.

The donated food items help feed one in four kids throughout Hawkeye Area Community Action Program's seven county area who go hungry at least once a week.

"I think that this would be a really good opportunity for me to pick up things and give them to people who are hungry," Savannah Barnes, volunteer, said.

With her grandpa as a letter carrier, this national event prompts ten-year-old Savannah Barnes to think what it would be like to not have a solid meal.

"I think that would be really horrible. I wouldn't want to be hungry all the time, and I love eating," Barnes said.

So she and countless other volunteers traveled through Eastern Iowa neighborhoods to fill up the back of their trunks with food. Then they made their way to HACAP.

That's how the warehouse went from an empty room to full of food, ready to be sorted out and then shipped out to nearly a hundred non-profit organizations who give food assistance.

"We're seeing a definite increase and we're seeing pantries run out of food in a much more rapid pace," Amanda Pieper, HACAP Food Reservoir Director, said.

And that need will only go up during the summer months away from the school cafeteria which might be the only place kids know they can get a good meal. So the pantries stock up as temperatures go up and schools let out, but there is a specific need.

"We're hoping for some protein items, peanut butter, tuna, canned chicken," Pieper said.

HACAP is also looking for those non-perishable staples like pastas and canned goods. All to help families, kids, seniors have a healthy meal. HACAP hoped to collect 17,000 pounds of food Saturday alone.

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