West Texas Food Bank

Midland Reporter-Telegram: Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive Celebrates 20 Years

Midland Reporter-Telegram: Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive Celebrates 20 Years May 5, 2012

By Kathleen Petty

Advocates for the West Texas Food Bank ask Midlanders to mark Saturday on their calendars.

The National Association of Letter Carriers is hosting its 20th "Stamp Out Hunger" food drive and hopes members can collect more than 100,000 pounds of food from this area.

"With our busy economy, sometimes it can be hard to see those in need who live among us," said Bill Webster, CEO of Medical Center Health System, which a drive sponsor.

Webster said 30 percent of West Texas Food Bank clients report having to choose between using air conditioning or purchasing food. Another 30 percent have only enough money for either their groceries or their prescription medications.

When people forced to buy food instead of taking medicine or using air conditioning, Webster said they often end up in the emergency room with issues that could have been prevented if they had had some assistance.

"Feeding your neighbor is not only the right thing to do, it's something you and your family can feel great about," he said.

Chris Upton, food bank board president, said some of their greatest need comes in the summer because children who typically receive lunches at school are at home.

With the increasing population and the cost of living having grown more than some families' wages, Upton said there are even more needs this year than in the past.

"Texas has the second highest child hunger rate," he said, adding that federal data shows there's an estimated 8,000 children in Midland whose families are at risk of not being able to feed them.

Jacque Glenn, a Midland postal worker and assistant coordinator of the food drive, said they can pick up nonperishable items left next to mailboxes on Saturday. If someone is out of town that day, Glenn said letter carriers also can pick up food on the days following the food drive.

"We encourage everyone to take part," she said.

During the 20 years the food drive has been taking place nationwide, more than 765.5 million pounds of food have been collected. In West Texas, nearly 100,000 pounds were gathered in 2011.

Upton said the food bank hopes collect more this year to better meet the needs of their clients.

The food bank distributes an average of 1.2 million pounds of food each month to partner agencies in 22 counties.

"We know this year's Stamp Out Hunger drive is going to be a success," Upton said.

Kathleen Petty can be reached at kpetty@mrt.com.

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Want to help?

Leave nonperishable food items in next to your mail box before your mail carrier arrives on Saturday.

Items the food bank is especially in need of: Beans, rice, canned tuna, canned meat, soup, peanut butter.

Interested in sorting?

Volunteers are needed from 1 to 3:30 p.m. and from 3:30 to 6 p.m. on Saturday to help sort food letter carriers are bringing in. Call 580-6333 to volunteer.

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