The National Association of Letter Carriers will host the annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive Saturday, May 11.

Residents are asked to participate by leaving non-perishable food items near their mailboxes on May 11. Letter carriers will pick up the food during their mail deliveries.

The event marks the 27th anniversary of one of America’s great days of giving, according to a news release from Andrew Elkins, NALC president at Pine Bluff, and Angela Jones, a local letter carrier.

“Letter carriers walk through the community every day, often coming face to face with a sad reality for too many, hunger,” according to the release.

“So, each year on the second Saturday in May, letter carriers across the country collect non-perishable food donations from our customers. These donations go directly to local food pantries to provide food to people in Pine Bluff and White Hall who need our help,” according to the release.

Nationally, letter carriers collected more than 71.6 million pounds of food last year, feeding an estimated 64 million people.

“Over the course of its 26-year history, the drive has collected well over 1.67 billion pounds of food, thanks to a postal service universal delivery network that spans the entire nation, including Puerto Rico, Guam and U.S. Virgin Islands,”according to the release.

“The need for food donations is great. Currently, 42 million Americans — one in six — are unsure where their next meal is coming from. Sixteen million are children who feel hunger’s impact on their overall health and ability to perform in school. And nearly 5 million seniors over age 60 are food insecure, with many who live on fixed incomes often too embarrassed to ask for help,” according to the release.

The NALC food drive comes at a crucial time, according to spokesmen.

“Food banks and pantries often receive the majority of their donations during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons. By springtime, many pantries are depleted, entering the summer low on supplies at a time when many school breakfast and lunch programs are not available to children in need,” according to the release.

To participate in the Letter Carrier Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, residents are asked to leave a non-perishable food donation in a bag by their mailboxes May 11 and the letter carrier will do the rest.

“With your help, letter carriers and the U.S. Postal Service have collected over 1.67 billion pounds of food in the United States over the 26 years as a national food drive. Please help us in our fight to end hunger, as we celebrate our 27th anniversary year in America’s great day of giving,” the spokesmen said.