Stamp Out Hunger 2018 Was a Huge Success!

On Saturday, May 12, the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) held their 26th annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive across the nation, and the DMARC Food Pantry Network was the local beneficiary of the food drive in the greater Des Moines area.

That Saturday, letter carriers around the metro collected food donations from mailboxes and doorsteps, which were brought back to their local post offices, and then transported to the East Grandstands’ Hall of Law and Flame at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

All together, 63,402 pounds of food were collected during Stamp Out Hunger. Over 100 watermelon bins full of food! The following week, hundreds of volunteers assisted in date and seal checking, sorting, and boxing up food.

On Monday, May 14, volunteers began by checking the seals and sell-by dates on every single food item that was donated. Food items that were within one year out-of-date were set aside for redistribution to JOPPA, and food items between one and two years out-of-date were set aside for redistribution to the Des Moines Catholic Worker. Food past two years out-of-date was discarded. Seal and date-checking all the food donations was completed by volunteers on Tuesday evening, with 67 bins of food in-date and intact.

Beginning Wednesday morning, volunteers started going through all the in-date food donations, separating them into eight major food categories: vegetables, pasta and rice, fruit, beans, tomatoes and pasta sauce, hot and cold cereal, and extra items. All 67 bins of food were sorted on Wednesday in this manner.

Then, on Thursday, volunteers began sorting food from all categories except “extra items” into sub-categories and packing the donations up for distribution by DMARC. For example, volunteers sorted food from the “vegetable” bins and then packaged them as “corn”, “green beans”, or “other veggies.”

Once completed, all that was left to do Friday and Saturday was finish sorting and packaging the “extra items” into sub-categories and then clear out and clean up!

Thank You to All Involved!

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you to all involved with Stamp Out Hunger 2018, we truly could not have done it without you. Hundreds of volunteers came together to make this event a success for the people we serve.

We especially want to thank the National Association of Letter Carriers for partnering with DMARC for their Stamp Out Hunger food drive and coordinating logistics with us.

We also want to thank the Iowa State Fairgrounds for donating the space for our volunteer event, and Bidwell Riverside Center, Catholic Charities, Urbandale Food Pantry, Drake Food Pantry, and Salvation Army for donating the use of their trucks for food pick ups and delivery. Thanks also goes to The Des Moines Radio Group and First Class Community Credit Union for helping promote our most needed items and Aspen Waste Systems of Iowa for helping with our waste needs.

We would also like to extend a special thank you to our “super volunteers” Art Decker and Jerry Wylie for their amazing help with logistical support and coordinating volunteers.

And finally, thank you to the hundreds of volunteers who came to help with Stamp Out Hunger 2018, whether with a group or on your own. Your service is so valuable to the DMARC Food Pantry Network and those we serve. Thank you!

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