Stamp Out Hunger: Shepherdstown residents to care for needy with national initiative
SHEPHERDSTOWN — When people think of feeding the needy, they often associate this good work with the winter holidays. But those who are struggling to make ends meet need food year-round, not just during the holidays.
This month, the Corporation of Shepherdstown will be launching its branch of the national Stamp Out Hunger initiative, with the collaboration of the U.S. Postal Service, Shepherdstown Centennial Lions Club, Jefferson Security Bank, the Shepherdstown Community Club, local boy scout troops and Food Lion.
“It is the largest food drive in the world,” said local director Pam Donato of the 27-year-old event. “This year, Shepherdstown will partner with the national food drive for the first time in its history.”
Donato, who coordinated the national event in her former position with the U.S. Postal Service, realized after she retired in Shepherdstown that the town needed someone to bring Stamp Out Hunger here. Many West Virginian families struggle with food needs after the school year ends, and they would directly benefit from Stamp Out Hunger’s initiative, as all of the food collected in the drive will be donated to local food pantries.
“We’ve got our eyes fixed on collecting 10,000 pounds of food,” Donato said, mentioning over 40,000 U.S. town and cities, including Inwood, Charles Town and Ranson, will participate in this year’s initiative. “It’s just an amazing thing, and it’s so simple. All you have to do is put your can of soup or box of macaroni by your mailbox, and your carrier will pick it up for you.”
Shepherdstown residents will receive a reminder postcard and Stamp Out Hunger plastic bag in the mail this week, which the food can be placed in before being put out by residents’ mailboxes for the May 11 pick-up. Volunteers from around the community will drive behind town mail carriers on May 11 and pick up the bags of food, which will then be taken to a main collection site, according to Donato. For those who don’t have a mailbox in the 25443 ZIP code, collection boxes will also be set up in the Shepherdstown Post Office, Jefferson Security Bank, War Memorial Building and at Shepherd University.
“We’re making sure there are all different ways to help you help your neighbor,” Donato said, mentioning she hopes this will become an annual event in town. “There are a huge amount of people in West Virginia who are going hungry, and in the time I’ve lived here in West Virginia, I’ve learned how generous people here like to be.”
Food donations do not need to be placed in a Stamp Out Hunger bag, to be accepted. For more information, visit www.stampouthungerfooddrive.us.