As one in seven people in Illinois continues to struggle with hunger, this weekend the state's letter carriers will be working to help.
Saturday, May 14 marks the 24th annual Letter Carriers' Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive.
The U.S. Postal Service is asking residents to set bags of non-perishable foods - cereal, pasta, canned fruits and vegetables - next to their mailbox. Then carriers will pick them up and get the donated items to local food banks.
Elise Foster, with the National Association of Letter Carriers, says they hold the food drive in May to help restock food shelves just before schools let out for summer.
"That's the only meal that some of these kids get throughout the summer, because the schools are going to be closed. So, this our way in May that we can reach those food pantries that have seen the decline after Thanksgiving and Christmas when those food pantries go empty."
Foster says even though letter carriers will be pulling double duty this weekend, they're happy to be a part of the food drive. She says letter carriers have a unique understanding of the neighborhoods where they work.
"We are in the community every day and we see the need. So, we play a vital role in the community in that we can get the customers to give. We also get feedback from the pantries, and they look forward to every year, they want to make sure they're on the list to be the recipients of that food."
Foster says this weekend's food drive will help stock some Illinois food banks for about six months. Last year, the nationwide drive brought in about 71 million pounds of non-perishable food.