The Utah Food Bank is helping eradicate hunger with its 31st Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive on Saturday, one of the largest single-day food drives in the country.

The food bank is partnering with the National Association of Letter Carriers, the United States Postal Service and the National Rural Letter Carriers Association to collect food that will then be distributed to Utahns across all 29 counties.

Residents wanting to participate can place a bag of nonperishable food next to their mailbox by 9 a.m. on Saturday, and letter carriers will pick up the donations. Utah Food Bank volunteers will then sort the food and distribute it to partner organizations, that will then give the food to Utahns in need.

"We want to thank those people who participate, whether it's the person putting the bag of groceries on the porch, whether it the person who's volunteering to help us that day at all those locations, post offices across the state, or whether it's particularly the postal workers themselves — we just want to say thank you for giving us one day of their incredible service," Utah Food Bank President Ginette Bott said.

Donations to the drive are critical, especially as school ends and children are left without free and accessible meals, Bott said. With spiking inflation and a lack of housing affordability, families are struggling now more than ever to feed their children — in fact, 316,980 Utahns face hunger, and 93,050 of them are children, according to Feeding America.

"The ripple effect of not eating has a huge impact on more than just a growly stomach. It impacts so many different facets of individuals, whether they're children, family members, senior citizens — we all deserve the basic three meals a day," Bott said.

The critical need for food donations also increased after several food stamp benefits made available through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program during the COVID-19 pandemic expired in March.

"In this day and age, with the economy, food should be available. Emergency food is crucial," Bott said. "I can't tell you how many times, in different settings, people have come through and collected food and the comment comes back, 'We're so excited you're here; we get to have dinner tonight.' And that's a really resounding statement."

Donations can also be left at any local food bank, at the Utah Food Bank's Salt Lake City or St. George warehouses, or at any Harmons grocery store location.

The food bank is also seeking volunteers to help sort food Saturday from 1-5 p.m. at post offices in the Salt Lake valley. Volunteers can contact the food bank at 801-887-1234 or at volunteerinfo@utahfoodbank.org.