Published: May 15, 2013 1:23 PM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla - The 21st annual National Letter Carrier Food Drive on May 11 collected 319,935 pounds of food in Lee County -- a 5% increase over last year, when Lee residents donated 304,487 pounds. Lee County residents also donated $232 in cash. The “Stamp Out Hunger” one-day food collection drive benefits the Harry Chapin Food Bank and other agencies in Lee County that operate pantries and other feeding programs. The food bank will distribute the food collected from the drive to participating agencies at no cost.

In Lee County, 348 Harry Chapin Food Bank volunteers sorted donated food at eight collection points, and 150 postal service volunteers helped letter carriers collect food left by mailboxes on various routes. George Sciascia coordinated postal volunteers and the United Way assisted in soliciting and assigning other volunteers. Lee County letter carriers conduct one of the most impressive collections each year in the nation through their active participation and dedication.

Al Brislain, CEO and President of the Harry Chapin Food Bank, commented, “This food will go a long way in helping our agencies feed families during the summer months when children don’t have access to regular school feeding programs. Our community, once again, stepped up to assisting with this important annual food collection.”

Those who were not able to participate in the May 11 food drive may still do so by taking nonperishable food items to any post office or Uncle Bob’s Storage locations. Checks can also be made payable to the Harry Chapin Food Bank and sent to 3760 Fowler Street, Fort Myers, FL 33901.

The Harry Chapin Food Bank solicits, collects and stores quality food for distribution to families in need through a network of 150 nonprofit agencies in Lee, Collier, Hendry, Charlotte and Glades counties that provide food to more than 30,000 people monthly. Over 1 million pounds of food are distributed by the Harry Chapin Food Bank monthly. For each $100, the food bank can distribute $600 worth of food and supplies. In the past fiscal year, the Harry Chapin Food Bank distributed more than 15.1 million pounds of food and other grocery items valued at more than $25 million. This is roughly the equivalent of 12.5 million meals to people in need.

For additional information about or to contribute financially to the Harry Chapin Food Bank, contact 239-334-7007 or go to harrychapinfoodbank.org.