Today marks the 21st anniversary of the National Association of Letter Carriers "Stamp Out Hunger" Food Drive.

Each year in May, letter carriers across the country collect from our customers nonperishable food donations. These donations go directly to local food pantries to provide food to people in need.

Last year, more than 70 million pounds of food was collected, feeding an estimated 30 million people. Over the course of its 20-year history, the drive has collected more than a billion pounds of food, thanks to our universal delivery network that spans the entire nation.

Currently, 50 million Americans -- 1 in 6 -- are unsure where their next meal is coming from. Children in these households feel hunger's impact on their overall health and ability to perform in school. And nearly 3 million seniors over age 65 must deal with hunger as well, with many who live on fixed incomes often too embarrassed to ask for help.

Food banks often receive the majority of their donations during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons. By springtime, many pantries are depleted, entering the summer low on supplies at a time when many school breakfast and lunch programs are not available. Participating in this year's food drive is simple. Just leave a nonperishable food donation in a bag by your mailbox today, May 11, and your letter carrier will pick it up. I invite you to join in America's great day of giving.

Mike Towery

National Association of Letter Carriers