CHIPPEWA VALLEY, Wis. (RELEASE FROM UNITED WAY)-- Almost all Chippewa Valley post offices have reported in their numbers, and totals mark the 2014 Stamp Out Hunger food drive as the biggest success locally since 2009.
Tina Dunn, chair of the food drive for the Eau Claire post office, released a total of 154,169 pounds of food collected in the 14 county area. At this time, only one post office has yet to report totals. “Thank you to the Chippewa Valley for their continuing generosity that makes the Stamp Out Hunger food drive so successful year after year,” says Tina Dunn of the area food drive. “With the help of our employees, their family and friends, and the United Way, we have once again filled the empty shelves of our local pantries as we attempt to eliminate hunger for those in need.”
Eau Claire County collected 64,303 pounds of food, up over 2,000 pounds from last year. Donated food items in Eau Claire were delivered to Feed My People food bank, St. Francis Food Pantry and Trinity Lutheran Food Pantry. Feed My People reports over 30,000 pounds of food received by them. “Feed My People distributes an average of about 25,000 pounds of food each day,” explains Emily Moore, executive director for Feed My People. “However, the food from the food drive will last for several months (most of the summer) because food pantries will use this food in combination with other food we have available. Large food drives such as this are appreciated because it provides such an interesting assortment of food.”
Chippewa County saw a significant increase in giving this year as well, collecting 37,961 pounds of food compared to 2013’s 33,643. This total does not include Cadott, which is yet to report and collected over 2,300 pounds of food last year.
New this year was the option for Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls area residents to donate money to local food pantries. This resulted in an additional $1,280 dollars collected. Food banks and food pantries can typically purchase approximately $10 of food with every dollar.
“This is the power of community coming together in action,” says James Peters, director of marketing for United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley and volunteer coordinator for the food drive. “Stamp Out Hunger simply could not exist without the generosity and commitment of the entire community, from those who donate to all the volunteers who so wonderfully donated their time to help the postal carriers collect.”
Volunteer participation was significant this year. Postal carriers recruit family, friends and retired postal carriers to assist. Food pantries depend on volunteers to sort and stock items coming in. Sara Nemec, community engagement coordinator for Feed My People reports that 62 individual volunteers put in 181 volunteer hours collectively at Feed My People for Stamp Out Hunger” United Way recruited 42 volunteers to help collect food in area neighborhoods.
Stamp Out Hunger is the largest single day national food drive. It occurs every year on the second Saturday in May, when food pantries typically find their inventories depleted just before summer demand increases due to school lunch programs ending. United Way Worldwide is a national sponsor along with Campbell’s Soup, Valpak, the United States Postal Service and the AFL-CIO. Locally, United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley supports Stamp Out Hunger through public awareness, volunteer recruitment, and workplace food drive coordination.