For 25 years, more than one billion pounds of food have been donated across the country during the annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive, including here in Santa Clarita with the help of volunteers from the SCV Food Pantry.
Letter carriers with the United States Postal Service worked until 7 p.m. collecting food from the homes of Santa Claritans willing to donate what they could to help those who need a meal.
“So mail carriers pick up the food at your doorstep and bring it back to the post office and we try to handle it from there,” said Phil Howard a member of the SCV Food Pantry board, who led the effort at the post office on Creekside Drive. “We gather it here then we take it back to the food pantry. We sort through it, make sure the sell by dates are all good then we group food by can goods, dry goods and other things.”
Volunteers collected the donated food from the mails trucks placing them in carts to be stored in rental trucks that haul the food off to the food pantry itself. By 4:30 p.m. four trucks had been filled as more food made its way into the back parking lot of the post office.
“We bag a single person bag, we do a family bag for one, family bag for two or a family bag up to five kids and we even do a bag for homeless people as well,” Howard explained. “So these donations get put into a bag and given out into the community.”
Last year the pantry collected 150 pallets of food, according to Howard.
The SCV Food Pantry was founded back in 1986 when the first item given on day one was a bottle of cooking oil shared between two families, according to their website. Now the pantry distributes over $1 million, or about 2000 pounds, of food to families in the community in need of food.
“If you imagine you’re a college student and you’re trying to pay tuition or work your way through school maybe you’re a single mother taking care of a kid, you don’t have a lot of income,” Howard said about why he helps with the pantry. “So its like, ‘do I pay tuition or do I buy food?’ So if we can provide the food and they can pay the tuition, then we give them a step up in life.”