Don’t discard the blue bag that appears in your mailbox this week. It’s signaling the return of the annual Fall Letter Carriers’ Food Drive.
Participation is easy. Simply fill bags with non-perishable food items and leave them at your mail box or cluster box. Letter carriers will pick the bags up on Saturday, Nov. 19, and take them back to local post offices, where volunteers will unload and sort the items before they are transferred to the Roadrunner Food Bank for distribution statewide.
People who receive their mail at post office boxes can leave food donations at those post offices.
The food drive is being conducted in communities across the nation. The local food drive will take place in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho and Belen, as well as in the northern New Mexico community of Los Alamos.
“This event has returned at a perfect time,” said Mag Strittmatter, president and CEO of Roadrunner Food Bank. “Food inventory available to us is much lower right now and donations … will help us through the winter months.”
The annual Map the Meal Gap food report released during the summer showed New Mexico ranks second for childhood hunger, with one in five children, or 20.5%, at risk of hunger. The hunger rate among all New Mexicans indicates that 12.9% of the population is at risk.
The fall food drive has been on hiatus for two years because of the COVID pandemic. In 2019, the drive produced 180,400 pounds of non-perishable food items; the spring drive, which had also been on a two-year hiatus, raised 158,280 pounds of food.
Non-perishable food items can include such things as canned fruits, vegetables and soups, peanut butter, pasta, rice, boxed meals, canned meat items and cereal.