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National Letter Carriers "Stamp Out Hunger" Food Drive this weekend

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D. Webster
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President of Great Plains Food Bank, Melissa Sobolik

North Dakotans are encouraged to leave non-perishable food items near their mailbox on Saturday.

After two years of missing out due to the pandemic, postal workers in North Dakota are once again participating in the National Letter Carriers Association Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive taking place this weekend.

This year marks the 30th year the food drive has been running. Mike Forsberg is a letter carrier in Fargo, and says it couldn’t be easier to participate.

"So here's the big ask - this Saturday, the 14th, all you need to do is leave some non-perishable canned goods, mac and cheese, tuna, peanut butter - that kind of thing - leave it by your mailbox. And your letter carrier will pick it up that day, bring it to the office, and we will get it to the local food bank and food pantries."

Stacie Loegering is executive director for the Emergency Food Pantry in Fargo. She says drives like these are tremendously helpful in providing a wider selection of foods to their clients.

"That canned goods that are being provided from the local community are so vital to be able for us to keep them on our shelves; but things coming from the Great Plains Food Bank, and our local grocery stores, are much more the perishable items. And when you think about the things we are providing for our families, it's nice to have a variety of that."

Melissa Sobolik is President of the Great Plains Food Bank. She says demand at the Food Bank did dramatically increase during COVID, but earlier this year demand was starting to finally come down. Then inflation started driving the numbers back up again. And Sobolik says it couldn’t be happening at a worse time, as school gets ready to let kids out for the summer.

"Most people don't realize that our busiest months are actually July through September, just because school is out, kiddos are home, parents are looking to keep them engaged all summer long. So, they lose out on those school breakfasts and lunches. We know parents are struggling now more than ever before, I mean, I just filled my car with gas this morning and it was $4.19. Dollars are not stretching as far. And when you've got households with kiddos in them during the summer, we want to make sure that the parents don't need to worry about putting food on the table and meeting their other needs, and that they have a great summer of just being kids."

The food drive also has a virtual component. Anyone can donate online by visiting the Great Plains Food Bank website.