It's Time Again to Stamp Out Hunger

What started out as a community pilot project by the National Association of Letter Carriers in 1991 quickly became a national, annual effort. The food drive is held in late spring because that’s when food banks typically start running out donations from the holiday season. (Photo: Victoria 1/Shutterstock)

Over the years, I've covered the annual Letter Carrier's Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive in various ways.

Besides reminding everyone to put their non-perishable food donations out for their letter carriers on the right day — this year, it's Saturday, May 12 — I've given lots of tips about donating. Top tips include not donating anything in glass, making sure food isn't past its expiration date, and placing your donation in plastic bags with handles to make it manageable for your letter carrier. I've also covered the 25 best foods for food donations, a list of healthy non-perishable foods that food pantries are always in need of.

If you're not sure if your mail carrier participates — it's voluntary, not automatic — just call your local post office.

I've never covered the tax aspect of donating to Stamp Out Hunger, though. But, after narrowly getting my 2017 taxes in on time and realizing I need to keep much better records, I have a new focus on making sure I'm fully taking advantage of what I can deduct on my taxes. According to the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), donations to Stamp Out Hunger are tax-deductible.

Because the food is "given directly to non-profit charity food agencies in the community it is collected," you can write off the donation if you itemize your taxes. (You're donating the food; the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) is only transporting your donation for you.)

Here are a few things you need to know to claim your food donation on your taxes.

  • The NALC is not the agency you should list on your tax form when claiming the donation. You need to determine the name of the agency that received your food. You'll also need the agency's address and tax I.D.
  • Your local post office has a food drive coordinator who should be able to let you know where your food donation will end up as well as the information you'll need on that location for your taxes.
  • According to The Nest, you can only claim the price you paid for the food. So if it was on sale or you used coupons to purchase it, you can't claim the price it would have been before the discounts. Keeping a receipt of purchase of the foods you donated for your records, too, if you have them. Your letter carrier will not leave a receipt for you.

Most importantly, since I'm not a tax professional, please speak with a qualified tax professional about writing off your food donation to Stamp Out Hunger or any food donations you make throughout the year. Among other things, a professional will be able to help you determine the value of the food you donated if you don't have a receipt.