Stamp Out Hunger Food drive raises thousands of pounds of food for local food banks

Published 12:10 am Thursday, May 16, 2024

SALISBURY — Volunteers, The Salvation Army officials, Rowan Helping Ministries officials, United Way officials and U.S Postal Service officials all gathered together on the loading docks at the Salisbury post office on Saturday to help gather and distribute food supplies coming in from all throughout the county.

The Stamp Out Hunger food drive is an annual effort on the second weekend in May to bring in supplies for the two charitable organizations. In cities, towns and other communities throughout the nation, letter carriers pick up food left by mailboxes and in post offices and bring it back to the post office for counting and distribution.

The USPS typically sends out postcards before the food drive letting its customers know that any food left beside a mailbox will be collected and donated. Then, carriers run their normal routes, assisted by local volunteers, and pick up all of the donations. In the 33 years since Stamp Out Hunger began, the drive has collected more than 1.82 billion pounds of food nation-wide, according to the USPS’s website.

Kristina Wiles, director of food operations and crisis assistance at Rowan Helping Ministries, said that Rowan County’s food drive typically brings in 10,000 pounds of food and both organizations bring home half of what is raised. Five thousand pounds will typically feed the families that the organization assists for a few months, Wiles said, but the number of people in need continues to increase.

“Back to October of last year, we’ve seen the number steadily increase. With inflation, food is more expensive at the grocery store. People who are on SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits, they’re not going as far so they’re needing extra help,” said Wiles.

Rowan Helping Ministries also provides assistance to people who make up to 200 percent of the poverty level, which means that the organization assists people who do not qualify for full SNAP benefits but still need help. Wiles said that the organization fed over 1,200 families in April.

“This event is so important because it delivers hope to many families in our community who are uncertain where their next meal will come from,” said Audrey Eudy, philanthropy director with the Rowan County United Way, who assist with the program every year.

Melissa Isenhour, a member of The Salvation Army of Rowan County, said that while 5,000 pounds of food provides great relief, the organization is always in need of more supplies. The organization serves approximately 200 hundred people a month.

“This helps tremendously. So many people need this, but if we can get it out there that we still need donations to keep our pantry going, because we feed people on a daily basis,” said Isenhour.

Isenhour said that anyone who wished to donate food at any point in the year can drop off supplies at the Salvation Army’s store, located at 521 Jake Alexander Blvd. W. in Salisbury.

The Rowan Helping Ministries accepts fresh and non-perishable food donations daily and clothing donations on Wednesday at the organization’s receiving dock, located at 226 N. Long St.

For more information on how to contribute to The Salvation Army of Rowan County, go to or call 704-636-6491. For more information on how to contribute to Rowan Helping Ministries, visit or call 704-637-6838.

The post office will be accepting donations for the food drive through the end of the week at the Salisbury post office, located at 605 E. Innes St.