Next Saturday is the annual Stamp Out Hunger campaign held every year by the National Association of Letter Carriers. Participating in this event is really quite simple: on the 14th, leave a bag on non-perishable food items by your mailbox and your local mailperson (doing my best to stop saying ‘mailman’) will pick up your bag and deliver it to a local food bank.
Now there are lots and lots and lots of facts and figures I could spew out to paint the picture of hunger right now in our area. But I’m just going to mention three:
The Food Bank of South Jersey distributed 9.1 million pounds of food last year in Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Salem counties. They estimate that for this year the amount of food needed for distribution will have to increase to 12 million pounds to meet the demand.
The FoodBank of New Jersey, Southern Division (which covers Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland and parts of Burlington) saw their food distribution increase by 23% from 2009 to 2010.
And according to The Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, poverty rates of children in Ocean County increased from 8.8% to 13.3% over the last decade.
We all know times are tough, and they have been for a few years now. But here’s one simple way to help out…and you don’t even have to go past your driveway to do so.
When you have a chance, check out the websites of these regional food banks. It would be easy to go all doom and gloom on you, but all of these organizations offer not only food but many different programs to help those in need. It’s more than a little inspiring, actually. And if you want to do more than just walk to the edge of your driveway, they will be more than happy to have you lend a hand and volunteer.