Santa Clarita Letter Carriers worked double duty this past Saturday, not only delivering the mail, but collecting donations for the Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry.
The “Stamp Out Hunger” nation-wide food drive has been collecting for 18 years, and provides assistance to the one in eight Americans who struggle with hunger.
“We collected slightly over 24 tons of food,” said Belinda Crawford, Executive Director at the SCV Food Pantry. “That amount should get us through the month of June.”
The Food Pantry distributes between three and four thousand pounds of food a day, with the majority of the food going to children.
The number of pounds collected is expected to rise slightly according to Crawford, because of residual food coming in.
The amount raised in this years Stamp Out Hunger food drive was similar to last years numbers, but below the record setting year in 2007 where 32 tons of food were collected.
In addition to their efforts to raise food, the SCV Food Pantry recently won the 2010 Community Spirit award from the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.
The award was given to the pantry for their dedicated partnership in the fight against hunger for their Milk Money program, and the Senior Outreach Mobile Distribution program.
The Milk Money Program provides one gallon of milk, per child, per family, each month, and is the only food bank in America to provide this type of service.
Many food banks provide children with access to milk, but it is in the form of powdered milk, where the SCV Food Pantry provides liquid 2 percent milk to children.
“We feel like we are investing in the health of our client’s children,” said Crawford.
The Senior Outreach Mobile Distribution Program addresses the transportation issue facing many seniors.
“We realized that a lot of senior citizens may not be homebound in their apartment, but are community bound in their apartment complex,” said Crawford. “We started the program three years ago and take food to six different locations in the valley and distribute food to low income senior citizens.”
Crawford goes on to say that 11 percent of the clients they see are seniors and a majority of that percentage are served using the Mobile Distribution Program.
The food that was collected on Saturdays Stamp Out hunger drive will help both of these programs and will also help numerous other individuals at a time when the pantry sees a larger need for their services.
“This food drive could not have come at a better time, we’re going into the summer where the kids are out of school and eating all their meals at home,” Crawford adds.
“Some will go without meals since they won’t be receiving the free and reduced priced breakfast and lunches through their school system.”
The food pantry has seen a significant increase in its clients since 2007, seeing the need for their service jump more than 90 percent.
The Food Pantry is constantly looking for food donations or monetary donations.
“The beauty is that I can stretch those dollars further than the average consumer because I can purchase bulk items when they are on sale, or I can purchase through the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank at a much reduced price,” said Crawford.
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