how stamp out hunger and higher gas prices relate

Stamp Out Hunger, as you may know, is the annual postal service food drive that was just held this past May.  Going on for 17 years now, it is the largest food drive in the country by a wide margin.  This year, 73.4 million pounds of food was collected, marking the sixth consecutive year over 70 million pounds.  Perhaps even more amazing is that in this economy, with so many forced to cut back, over 300,000 more pounds were collected than in 2008!

To give you some perspective, all the food collected for this year’s Stamp Out Hunger campaign translates into nearly 57.35 million meals, which is enough to feed 52,369 people 3 meals a day for an entire year–365 days.  That’s roughly the entire population of Casper, Wyoming, by golly!  I bet nobody who reads this has even been there before… hell, I’ve never been there before… uhhh…  nonetheless, the point stands!

One of the biggest reasons this food drive is so critical to food banks around the country is the supply chain factor:  letter carriers are picking up the food at individual mail boxes, filling their little mail trucks, and delivering the food to local food banks.  That logistical exercise saves food banks a considerable amount of money on transportation and labor costs. 

When people give money to a food bank, the bulk of it goes to the purchase  of food, and indeed food banks in Arizona have a great track record:  AAFB member food banks report that $0.96 of every $1 they receive goes toward food purchase.  There are other, less sexy costs though, and oftentimes those costs are fuel and vehicle maintenance costs.  Someone has to collect all that food you see at a food drive at your local supermarket or other retailer.  Someone has to deliver food out to the small pantries in far away rural communities, and as you know, Arizona is a huge, giant state to traverse.  And when gas prices go up as they have over the past several weeks, you can see how much extra has to be budgeted just to deliver this food.  The fact that the largest food drive of the year includes built-in pick-up makes it an extraordinary event for food banks.

For those curious, this is also an area where AAFB helps out:  the Arizona Statewide Gleaning Project is a trucking operation that transports food to and from food banks, and also rescues leftover, unsaleable or unwanted produce from the Nogales point of entry, Yuma (and by extension, California) and numerous farms throughout the state.  The Gleaning Project is truly a great service for the food banks and is one of the things AAFB is most proud of.

gettin' ready to haul another load for the Arizona Statewide Gleaning Project!

gettin' ready to haul another load for the Arizona Statewide Gleaning Project!

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One Response to “how stamp out hunger and higher gas prices relate”

  1. Oh man, that is such great news! Bravo!

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