Sometimes it’s the smallest gesture that makes a difference to your neighbor.

In that suburban house across the street, the children may be going hungry. They could be coming home from school and not getting another meal until breakfast at school the next day.

And on weekends, they may not eat at all from Friday afternoon to Monday morning.

Or it may be happening at the small brick house at the end of the dusty road. It’s not true that just because you live in a rural area it’s easy to find food. More than 2 million people living in less populated areas go hungry every day.

For nearly 17 million children in America today, getting out of school for the summer means wondering where and when their next meal is coming from, according to the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive.

There are some misconceptions about who is going hungry in our neighborhoods.

It’s not just those who are homeless or living on the edge. It’s the family of four with only one working parent. It’s the retired widow who is having to choose between medicine and food. And it’s the college-educated couple who may be struggling to get by on one income.

More than 50 million people are going hungry every day in America. That’s one in six.

That’s why the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive that happens Saturday is important.

All you have to do is leave canned goods or nonperishable items by your mailbox or on your porch and your neighborhood letter carrier will pick it up and deliver it to our local food pantries.

They aren’t mailing the food anywhere.

All the donated food stays right here in the community to replenish food supplies before schools let out for the summer.

Last year, letter carriers collected more than 70 million pounds of food nationally, the ninth consecutive year that at least that much was collected.

Local residents in Charleston donated 251,884 pounds of food through the drive.

More than 1 billion pounds of food have been collected during the drive’s 21-year history.

This year, the nation’s 175,000 letter carriers will be collecting food donations in more than 10,000 local communities and delivering them to food bank members of Feeding America and other hunger-relief organizations.

What is needed are staples that do not require refrigeration, and nothing in glass bottles because they don’t transport well.

You can help, even if you don’t own a mailbox. You can leave the canned goods on your porch and many of our local post offices will have special collection boxes for the food.

If you aren’t going to be home on Saturday, you can donate through the Lowcountry Food Bank’s Virtual Food Drive. Just go to their home page and look for the big stamp to follow the instructions.

You can donate various amounts and see what the money you donate will buy.

It’s everything from pallets of fresh food and vegetables to toiletries and pet food.

While a few cans of food don’t seem like much, they add up at a time when donations to food pantries are at one of the lowest levels in the year.

Reach Stephanie Harvin at 937-5557 or sharvin@postandcourier.com.