Page 8 - MidWeek - May 10, 2023
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8 MIDWEEK MAY 10, 2023
           Story by Jocelyn Lansangan
Research shows more than 42 million Americans are uncertain where their next meal is coming from. The National Association of Letter Carriers’ hope is to alle- viate this issue with its upcoming Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, which is held annually in collaboration with Hawai‘i Foodbank.
This Saturday, May 13, let- ter carriers from across the na- tion will collect nonperishable food donations from custom- ers who share in its mission of feeding the hungry. Reminder cards and blue bags have al- ready been delivered to Ha- wai‘i residents and businesses, encouraging them to join the cause. Community members are asked to leave their goods — including highly requested items such as Spam, Vienna sausage, and canned fruits
              and vegetables — in a hidden place with a note notifying the letter carrier of the donation’s exact location.
 Adele Yoshikawa, a letter carrier for 25 years at Pearl City Post Office and media coordinator of the food drive for the past 15 years, says the public can also contribute virtually by making mone- tary donations year-round through the website fund- or by texting NALC to 71777.
(Left) Adele Yoshikawa, Pearl City Post Office letter carrier and Stamp out Hunger Food Drive media coordinator, showcases needed items for Hawai‘i Foodbank. (Right) Jasper Agonoy, Pearl City Post Office city carrier assistant, organizes canned goods collected from a recent drive.
She notes that although NALC had to suspend its food drive in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, it success- fully launched the website and online donations paid for $675,000 pounds of food —
At an elementary school’s career day in March, Yoshi- kawa shared with keiki that letter carriers do more than just deliver mail — they also do their part to assist the less-fortunate through food drives. Her comments led one child to respond, “My mom- my takes us over there (food banks) and we get food.”
wasn’t just them feeding the homeless or low-income (in- dividuals). People that had great jobs were in a situation where they needed to ask for food, too.”
 the second-highest total ever collected in the state’s history of food drives. This year, she says the aim is even higher: a million pounds of food.
“If any time they needed food, it would be now,” says Yoshikawa.
And so letter carriers like Yoshikawa continue to do their part to assist others.
 Pearl City Post Office letter carriers pose for a group photo with their donation to Hawai‘i Foodbank following a recent Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive. PHOTOS COURTESY ADELE YOSHIKAWA
“It could be ordinary peo- ple,” she continues. “I had friends who, during COVID, lost their jobs and they had to go to the food bank. It
“Together, let’s stamp out hunger.”
According to NALC’s fundraising page, the timing of the food drive is crucial. Typically by springtime, many pantries are depleted following the holidays and enter the summer low on supplies. In addition, many school breakfast and lunch programs aren’t available to those in need.
“I just started tearing,” ad- mits Yoshikawa. “This is why we do this.
“The aloha spirit, a lifetime of helping, that is the true es- sence of this food drive of all of us working together. That’s the only way we can get through all of this adver- sity, is by sticking together,” she says.
Mail carriers are rallying to collect donations for Hawai‘i Foodbank this week in hopes of stamping out hunger.

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