Letter carriers and volunteers will collect donations from residents as they deliver mail on Saturday for the annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive.
Hosted by the U.S. Postal Service and the National Association of Letter Carriers, the event aims to combat one of the country's growing problems - hunger. People can leave non-perishable food items next to their mailbox.
"It's no surprise that there are millions of people going hungry," George Sciascia, of the National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 2072, said.
He pointed to the impact of the economic downturn on the middle class.
"You have a lot of people who are doing without, going without," Sciascia said. "There are a lot of food-deprived households - at least half of these food-deprived people are kids."
Stamp Out Hunger calls for residents to leave food items at their mailbox, which are collected by volunteers and carriers when the mail is delivered.
"If possible, hang it (a bag filled with donated items) on your mailbox, so the carrier doesn't have to get out," he said.
The collected items are brought back to the post office branches, where they are sorted and distributed to charitable organizations in the area.
Last year, more than 320,000 pounds of food was donated.
The items are distributed to groups like the Harry Chapin Food Bank, Pine Island Food Pantry, Wake Up America and Lehigh Community Services.
"About 75 percent goes to Harry Chapin," Sciascia said.
Nationally, carriers collected 70 million pounds of donated food in 2012. Nearly 1.2 billion pounds have been collected since the drive began in 1993.
Recommended donations include protein-rich food items.
"Tuna, peanut butter, canned meats, beans - those are really valuable items," he said. "We'll take pasta, noodles - any kind of canned vegetable, soup."
For people who have never participated in the Stamp Out Hunger event, Sciascia said it is the easiest way to do something good for the community.
"There is nothing easier than going to the store and buying some food, or just going through your closet, your cupboard," he said.
For more information, visit online at: www.helpstampouthunger.com.