Local food bank prepares for its biggest food drive

NOW: Local food bank prepares for its biggest food drive


SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- 

Stamp Out Hunger is in it's 26th year, and it's the biggest food drive of the year for the Food Bank of Northern Indiana. 

The national food drive was started by the National Association of Letter Carriers. 

"We go to every house in America six days a week, so that's why this works," said Michelle Milligan, the food drive coordinator for NALC branch 820. 

Milligan has been a part of Stamp Out Hunger since it started in South Bend. She's been a letter carrier for 29 years and says she's seen the impact this drive has. 

"Unfortunately the need for food hasn't gone away," she said. "In fact it's even gotten greater."

The goal for St. Joseph County this year is to collect 100,000 pounds of food for the Food Bank. 

And that food is coming at a crucial time.

"We've had an extremely long winter this year," said Marijo Martinec, the associate director at the Food Bank of Northern Indiana. "So once the warmer weather hits people stop thinking about hunger, but the need really does rise in the summer."

Martinec says these donations will help stock their shelves for the summer months.

And the volunteers are planning to have their hands full. 

"We are going to be real, real busy," said Dinah Bourdan, who has volunteered at the Food Bank of Northern Indiana for nine years. "Because when food comes from a grocery store, it's pretty good, it's dated real well and you can get through it. But when it comes through from donations, we have to do a lot of sorting."

To donate, letter carriers just ask residents to place nonperishable items in a sturdy back and place it near the mailbox by 8 a.m. Saturday. Do not include glass containers in the bag. 

Donations can be dropped off before Saturday at any postal branch retail counter. Collection barrels are also located at Kroger stores in South Bend and Mishawaka, and Martin's Super Market locations in South Bend, Mishawaka and Granger. 

New this year, Culver's in Mishawaka will provide one free scoop of custard to anyone who brings two cans of food for Stamp Out Hunger. That offer stands through Saturday. 

The Food Bank of Northern Indiana says these are some of the most needed items:

  • Canned Soup
  • Boxed Dinner Meals
  • Peanut Butter
  • Jelly
  • Breakfast Cereal
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Spaghetti Noodles
  • Spaghetti Sauce
  • Pancake Mix
  • Pancake Syrup
  • Personal Care Items (toilet paper, bar soap, tooth brushes, tooth paste, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, body wash, etc.)
  • Baby Items (shampoo, wipes, bath wash, lotion, etc.)
  • Cleaning Supplies (laundry detergent, dish soap, all-purpose cleaner, etc.)
  • Pet Food
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