A drive-through food drive takes place on Saturday to replace the mail carriers' postponed "Stamp Out Hunger" event; pictured, Foodbank workers assemble boxes of staple foods for distribution around Santa Barbara County. | Credit: Foodbank of Santa Barbara County

The annual “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive by postal workers is postponed again for COVID, an altruistic effort that normally adds 80,000 pounds of food to local distribution sites. To make up the shortage in a year that is one of scarcity for hungry families and seniors, the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County is requesting donations at two drive-through locations in Santa Barbara and Santa Maria on Saturday.

“We’re accepting all nonperishable food items,” said Judith Smith-Meyer, who heads communications for Foodbank, specifically nourishing foods such as nut butters, whole-grain cereals and pasta, canned tomatoes and sauce, and canned proteins like tuna. This is the second year the mail carriers have had to postpone their food drive, and last year’s stopgap event raised about 15,000 pounds of food, said Jordan Jenkins, who is leading this year’s “foodraiser” for Foodbank.

The nonprofit delivers fresh and packaged foods to dozens of distribution sites around the county and also has mobile food pantries and harvest volunteers who can pick clean a backyard orchard for a good cause. A senior-specific program, called the Older Adult Nutrition Program, distributes meals to more than 1,000 elderly residents countywide, said Jenkins, and liquid nutritional milkshakes are in high demand in the food drive.

Jenkins said they added a cookware request this year after one staffmember noticed that clients who were newly housed often had nothing to cook with. This Saturday’s event requests “gently used” kitchen items like can openers, crockpots and pressure cookers, electric kettles, rice cookers, and hot plates, but no microwaves, please.

The drop off locations are at 4554 Hollister Avenue in Santa Barbara — next door to the Page Youth Center — and in Santa Maria at 1303 South Bradley Road, in the Trader Joe’s parking lot. Both locations will accept donations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 22.

More about Foodbank, locations where food can be found, food-delivery services, mobile food pantries, and harvest volunteers can be found here.

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