Written by Patrick O’Neill, Founder of Cohort II company Amp Your Good.
Stamp Out Hunger Gets Fresh
This year, for the first time, the Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger® Food Drive is offering a way for people to donate fresh fruits and vegetables through a partnership with Amp Your Good – we’re thrilled to be part of this great annual effort as we test our Crowd-Feeding food drive system in parts of New York City and San Francisco. So far, so good.
Sponsored by the National Association of Letter Carriers’, Stamp Out Hunger® has been the largest national annual one-day food drive held in the U.S since 1993. Each year, on the 2nd Saturday in May, people are able to place bags of non-perishable food items by their mailboxes before their letter carriers’ regular pick-up time, which the letter carriers collect for delivery to a local hunger organization.
Now in its 24th year, Stamp Out Hunger® has collected over 1.4 Billion lbs. of food, including over 70 Million lbs in 2015, to support the 49 Million people facing food insecurity in the United States. Last year, an estimated 35 Million people donated to the drive.
For several reasons, we count ourselves incredibly fortunate to be able to support Stamp Out Hunger® this year.
First, it’s big, really big. Most people have a hard time getting their arms around the scale of it. Last year’s 70 Million lbs of food donated last year was worth $175 Million! Based upon its monetary value – it’s the largest single day charity drive in the world by a factor of 2. It is second only to American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life as largest annual charity drive of any length.
Second, it’s trustworthy. “What percentage of my donation directly helps someone (versus covering your overhead)? is the most commonly heard question by non-profit organizations and one that many wrestle with. Donors want to have impact and they want to understand the impact they are making. For Stamp Out Hunger, it’s an easy answer – 100%. That’s the beauty of food drives. You donate food, you feed someone.
This dovetails nicely with the reputation that the United States Postal Service and the Letter Carriers have as the most trusted Federal Agency. We trust that the letter we put in the mailbox is going to get to where it’s supposed to go. When was the last time you put something in the mail and wondered whether it would arrive at its destination? So there’s no question that the food you donate is going to get to that local hunger organization you want to support so it can be used to feed someone.
Third, our amazing non-profit partners. Hunger in the US is a complex issue and addressing it requires a multidimensional approach. Wholesome Wave, Why Hunger, Food Tank and the Institute of Responsible Nutrition are each working on pathways that will help resolve hunger and improve nutritional health. Food drives are part of the short term remedy to address the needs of those facing food insecurity. In the long run, we need policy changes, changes to our food system, strengthened local farm economies and accurate nutrition information so that there’s no need for food drives.
Until now, the one thing that Stamp Out Hunger could not do was provide a way for people to donate some of the most sought after food by hunger organizations – fresh fruits and vegetables. The 49 Million people struggling with food insecurity also struggle with super high rates of diet related health issues – diabetes, obesity, hypertension – in large part due to lack of access to healthy food. Owing to this, hunger organizations have been working hard to increase the quality and variety of food they are able to provide those they serve.
That’s where Amp comes in. Our Crowd-Feeding system is an online donation platform at which people can purchase fruits and vegetables for delivery to specific hunger organizations. Organizations use it to run online food drives to make it easy to donate and to enable people to donate perishable food, something that’s not possible to donate to traditional food drives. We combine convenience with transparency and trust so that people can know they are making a food donation that will have measurable impact.
We’re in the middle of our trial run this year. We’ve been looking to see how people donate online compared to the traditional way. One thing that’s clear so far is that people will donate a lot more food via our Crowd-Feeding system compared to what the put out by their mailbox. Stamp Out Hunger estimates that people donate an average of 2 lbs of food to the campaign . The average online donation so far is more than ten times that amount – significantly more than 20 lbs per person.
We’ve also gotten great feedback about this new Stamp Out Hunger donation option from donors, health organizations and many others. People are generally moving towards a healthier diet for themselves and it makes sense that food drive donations should reflect that. We’re looking forward to expanding our partnership with Stamp Out Hunger next year and offering it on a much wider basis.
If you missed putting some non-perishable food out by your mailbox on May 14th, 2016, there’s still time to be part of the biggest food drive in the country. Simply visit www.stampyourgood.com and donate some healthy fruits and vegetables to help someone who could use a helping hand.