Guide: What to donate, how to get involved with 'Stamp Out Hunger'

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- Rockford teams up with more than 10,000 U.S. cities this weekend for the largest food drive in the nation.

The 27th annual "Stamp Out Hunger" food drive, organized by the National Association of Letter Carriers, is set for Saturday, May 11.

The Rock River Valley Pantry encourages locals to get involved.

Customers can leave their non-perishable food donations in a bag near their home mailbox on Saturday before their letter carrier arrives. In recent weeks leading up to the food drive, letter carriers delivered cards with specific instructions for donations.

Per NALC, these are the lists of foods encouraged to give and avoid giving during the drive:

WHAT TO GIVE:
-Canned meats (tuna, chicken, salmon).
-Canned and boxed meals (soup, chili, stew, macaroni and cheese).
-Canned or dried beans and peas (black, pinto, lentils).
-Pasta, rice cereal.
-Canned fruits.
-100 percent fruit juice (canned, plastic or boxed).
-Canned vegetables.
-Cooking oil.
-Boxed cooking mixes (pancake, breads).

WHAT NOT TO GIVE:
-Rusty or unlabeled cans.
-Glass containers.
-Perishable items.
-Homemade items.
-No expired items
-Noncommercial canned or packaged items.
-Alcoholic beverages or mixes or soda.

Food collected during Saturday's drive will be delivered to local community churches, food banks and food pantries for distribution.

"Our food pantry sees over 1,000 people a month... pretty much the working poor, those that are struggling to make ends meet," said Salvation Army development director Beverly Peterson. "If we can help supplement their food and make sure that they get nourishment that they need to provide with our family, that's what we're doing together."

The drive has delivered more than one billion pounds of food over the past 25 years. Last year, more than 35,000 pounds of food was collected in Rockford.

For more information on "Stamp Out Hunger," click here​.