For the first time in its quarter-century of service, the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) has established a partnership with NIU to address food insecurity on campus.
Postal carriers in DeKalb, Sycamore, Cortland, and Malta will again collect food during the largest one-day food drive across the nation, picking up bags of non-perishable food left at mailboxes before 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 13.
Reports have shown that there are homeless students as well as students living at the poverty level as they try to complete their education at universities across the nation. NIU’s Huskie Food Pantry, located in the Chick Evans Field House, serves any student who does not have a meal plan on campus. With the generous motto, “take what you need,” students are able to supplement their available food supply. Carriers have traditionally delivered Sycamore donations to the Sycamore Food Pantry and all DeKalb donations were traditionally delivered to the Salvation Army Food Pantry. However, this year, mail trucks serving a section of northwestern DeKalb -– including campus housing — will bring their bags directly to the Huskie Food Pantry. According to Liz McKee, Assistant Director of the Student Involvement and Leadership Development Division of Student Affairs, these donations will help fill the shelves for the summer semester.
This initiative also addresses the challenge of promoting responsible disposal of unopened food as students pack up to leave campus the week prior to the food drive. Kylie Moran, Development Intern for the Huskie Food Pantry, is publicizing the event at the on-campus residence halls and student apartments within northwestern DeKalb. Students are encouraged to place unused nonperishables in collection boxes in residence hall lobbies, which will be picked up on Friday, May 12.
All residents are encouraged to participate in the Stamp Out Hunger food drive, either by leaving food at their mailboxes or dropping it off at the post office. One in six individuals in America faces hunger, even though most households have at least one employed member. This includes 13 million children as well as about five million seniors over the age of 60. Sadly, children are hit the hardest, with 45% of our own DeKalb children eligible for free and reduced-price school lunches, a strong indication that food is limited at home. Thankfully, the Stamp Out Hunger food drive has been consistently successful in its efforts, providing a wonderful example of neighbors helping neighbors. Last year, the food drive collected a record 80 million pounds of food nationwide, raising the total number of donations picked up over the past 24 years to more than 1.5 billion pounds. The next meal is a regular part of every day for most of us, and a community effort can help make this true for all of us.