Published: May 08, 2014 5:59 AM EDT
Updated: May 08, 2014 12:50 PM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla. - Letter carriers in Lee County are gearing up for the 22nd annual national letter carrier food drive. The nation’s largest single-day food drive, “Stamp Out Hunger,” will be held on Saturday, May 10. This is the one day when letter carriers collect non-perishable food that has been left by mailboxes.

Summer is coming, school will be out, and the need for food assistance will be great. Food collected in Lee County will be distributed by the Harry Chapin Food Bank and several other agencies. All food collected in food drives is distributed to participating agencies at no cost.

Northerners who are returning home prior to May 10 maydrop off their contributions at any post office for this food drive. Food may also be left at Uncle Bob’s storage areas at 3780 Central Ave., 3111 Cleveland Ave., 4400 Solomon Blvd., or 6600 Industrial Drive, all in Fort Myers; 1347 N. Tamiami Trail., North Fort Myers; or 800 Abrams Blvd., Lehigh Acres.

Businesses can set up collection boxes for employees and customers who may not be able to leave food by their mailboxes on May 10. Virtually any kind of food may be donated in unopened, non-breakable containers. Items especially in need are peanut butter, tuna, rice, beans, and canned meats, fruits, vegetables, and soups.

Volunteers are needed to assist letter carriers with their pickups on May 10. Contact Kitty Swanson in Lee County, 239-573-9638. Volunteers are also needed to assist with preliminary food sorting on May 10. Contact Tanya Phillips at Harry Chapin Food Bank, 239-334-7007, or Kim Berghs at the United Way, 239-433-2000, x260.

The Harry Chapin Food Bank solicits, collects and stores quality food for distribution to families and others 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. More than 1 million pounds of food are distributed by the Harry Chapin Food Bank monthly. For each donated dollar, the food bank can distribute $6 worth of food and grocery items. In 2013, the Harry Chapin Food Bank distributed 17.5 million pounds of food and other grocery items valued at more than $29.6 million. This is roughly the equivalent of 14.6 million meals to people in need.

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