Oceanside — Mail carriers made a few extra trips to the post office to drop off cans of donated food along with their usual load of packages and letters during the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive on May 14. The nationwide food drive is a one-day collection effort to support Feeding America.
Last year 7 million pounds of food was collected in San Diego County and 24,000 pounds of food was collected in Oceanside, Jennifer Gilmore, executive director of Feeding America San Diego, said.
All collected food is brought to the Feeding America San Diego distribution site to be sorted and then doled out to local nonprofits.
“It’s distributed so everyone is getting a little of something,” Gilmore said. “We work to put food safely in hands of needy people as fast as possible.”
Casa de Amparo, the Community Resources Center, the Jewish Family Service distribution center in Camp Pendleton, and Brother Benos are a few of the local organizations that benefit from the food drive.
“It’s a labor of love,” Gilmore said.
On May 14 individuals put out nonperishable food items along with their mail, mail carriers drive the donations to the post office, and volunteers there load food donations onto trucks to be delivered to the Feeding America distribution site.
At the Avendia Del Oro post office, over a dozen volunteers lent a hand moving donated food onto trucks.
“It’s an easy way for neighbors to help neighbors,” Gilmore said. “In one afternoon it’s an amazing gift.”
The food bank at Feeding America San Diego also receives corporate donations and fresh fruits and vegetables at a reduced price to help hungry families.
The organization keeps a low overhead by counting on volunteers to make up 46 percent of its labor force.
“There’s jobs for everyone to lend a hand bagging food and sorting through it,” Gilmore said.
Feeding America accepts food donations all year.
“People think the best time to give is over the holidays, but over the summer months we’re experiencing the highest demand because school is out and kids are no longer receiving free or reduced lunches,” Gilmore said. “Childhood hunger strikes one out of four kids in San Diego.”
For more information, visit feedingamericasd.org.