Monroe County— Local letter carriers will be picking up donations for area food pantries on Saturday, May 8, during the 18th annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive for the United Way of Monroe County. Pocono residents are asked to place non-perishable food items in a grocery bag and placing it at their mailbox. Stamp Out Hunger is coordinated by the National Association of Letter Carriers with support from the United States Postal Service, Campbell Soup Company, Valpak, Feeding America, United Way Worldwide and its individual United Ways. Locally, the United Way of Monroe County is a sponsor. The National Rural Letter Carriers Association is also assisting with the event. The post offices in East Stroudsburg Borough, Stroudsburg and Mount Pocono are the main distribution/collection centers and contributions can also be brought there. Post offices in Canadensis, Pocono Summit, Tannersville and Reeders are among outlying locations that will accept donations. Besides downtown residents, rural residents with an East Stroudsburg or Stroudsburg mailing address can leave food at their mailbox. Last year, 10,300 pounds of food were collected in East Stroudsburg and 10,500 pounds of donations were collected in Stroudsburg, according to Dan Murray, a letter carrier and food drive coordinator for the East Stroudsburg Post Office. Donations in 2009 were the second highest total in 17 years, he said. “Donations are needed more than ever, with so many people having a tough time meeting their basic needs,” says Mathilda Sheptak, executive director of the United Way of Monroe County. “In this challenging economy, the demand for food assistance has been increasing.” Area nonprofits that will receive items for their pantries include the Salvation Army, Bushkill Outreach, Pleasant Valley Ecumenical, Top of the Mountain Ecumenical, Follow Me Foundation, Oasis of Love, Christian Awareness Ministries Ecumenical, Pocono Mountain Ecumenical Hunger Ministry, Stroudsburg Wesleyan Church and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Smithfield Township. Visit www.helpstampouthunger.com, call your local post office, or call United Way of Monroe County at (570) 629-5657 for more information.