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Agricultural News


Farmers to Families Food Box Program Reaches 75 Million Boxes Delivered

Fri, 28 Aug 2020 10:16:33 CDT

Farmers to Families Food Box Program Reaches 75 Million Boxes Delivered U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farmers to Families Food Box Program has distributed more than 75 million food boxes in support of American farmers and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this week, President Trump announced an additional up to $1 billion will be added to the Farmers to Families Food Box Program while the economy continues to reopen.

“The delivery of 75 Million food boxes has helped an incredible number of Americans in need,” said Secretary Perdue. “I couldn’t be prouder of the great job done by the food box program staff and the many farmers, distributors and non-profits that helped to get this program off the ground for the American people. Each of these milestones is marked by pride and has required hours of hard work and dedication from USDA employees, farmers, ranchers, distributors and the brave volunteers of countless non-profits going the last mile to reach Americans in need. We are well into the second round of deliveries and we’re working harder than ever to continue to build on the success of the program.”

“In May, under direction from the President, we launched the $3 billion Farmers to Families Food Box program to help feed American families and support our farmers. Just over three months later, the United States has responded in record amounts with over 75 million boxes having been delivered nationwide. This program will continue to fulfill its mission to support the most vulnerable, empower our workforce and uplift great American farmers,” said Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump.

You may view the Farmers to Families Food Box Program video or click on the image below to watch a highlight video of USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box Program in action across the United States:




Background:
Following the President’s announcement of additional funding up to $1 billion, USDA also announced today it intends to extend current contractors that desire to continue to deliver food boxes through September 18. These extensions will ensure adequate capacity for food box distribution as USDA plans to incorporate the additional funding. USDA continues to review proposals received for the upcoming third round, and will issue additional agreements in the near future, with subsequent contracts to deliver food boxes the remainder of September and through October 31.

In the ongoing second round of purchasing and distribution, which began July 1 and will conclude Aug. 31, 2020, USDA has purchased more than $1.113 billion of food through extended contracts of select vendors from the first round of the program as well as new contracts focused on Opportunity Zones in order to direct food to reach underserved areas, places where either no boxes have yet been delivered, or where boxes are being delivered but where there is additional need.

In the upcoming third round, which begins September 1, USDA plans to purchase combination boxes to ensure all recipient organizations have access to fresh produce, dairy products, fluid milk and meat products. Additional box types will be considered on an as needed basis. Entities that proposed under the previous solicitation, including current vendors, will have to reapply. Proposals will be expected to illustrate how coverage will be provided to areas identified as Opportunity Zones, detail subcontracting agreements, and address the “last mile” delivery of product into the hands of the food insecure population.

The first round of purchases occurred from May 15 through June 30, 2020 and saw more than 35.5 million boxes delivered in the first 45 days.

Updates to the number of food boxes verified as delivered will continue to be displayed on the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) website, with breakdowns by performance period on the Farmers to Families Food Box Program page.

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING:
Joe Cayson, general manager of Cockrell Banana: “The USDA has really helped us. We work a lot of restaurants and the schools. When they shut down, we lost thousands of dollars every week. This program saved our business.”

BaptistsonMission: “These are boxes of love and hope.”

Purcell resident Sandra Roberts: “It means everything to have this available to the community.”

Nathaniel Vincent, Vincent Farms: “It’s just an incredible opportunity for us, really...Having the opportunity to pack these boxes and having another home for our produce is huge.”

Zoe Absey, Great Plains Food Bank: “This is just the USDA saying ‘Here is some food, give it to your community.’ It’s more so just us trying to get the food out for the community and so farmers could get rid of their product and not waste it. I can’t imagine having to throw out all of your hard work.”

Amanda Ruiz: “It’s a blessing to all of us.”

Great Plains Food Bank: “Served over 1 million pounds of food to Burleigh and Morton Counties from March through July. That’s a 25% increase over last year. A partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture has made it possible to distribute food on a larger scale through the Farmers to Families program.”

Michigan Farm Bureau President Bednarski: “Thank you Secretary Perdue for helping farmers get products to consumers hands with Farmers To Families Food Box Program. Helped those in need get hands on food boxes. 66 million boxes to those in need. No one likes to see food go to waste.”

Kelisha Johnson, volunteer at New Monrovia Baptist Church: “I think it’s awesome. In an environment and time like this, it’s a blessing to be part of something that the community needs. I’m excited about it.”

The Berry Man: “The program has succeeded in doing exactly what it was intended to do — supply fresh produce to those in need while also helping distributors and farmers, who have been significantly impacted by the closure of restaurants, hotels, and businesses that they typically supply. The Berry Man’s business was down 80 percent before these contracts, with employees’ hours cut to one or two days per week. With the initial contract, the company was able to offer all employees their regular hours back.”

Cecarelli's Harrison Hill Farm owner William Dellacamera: “There's not much profit margin in farming to start with. But to have the security of knowing that you're going to be able to be profitable because of this box program is just substantial... Just to get fresh vegetables like they're getting. Some of these people have never had it before and those letters reflect it…You're showing the next generation, 'hey seek this out, this is good stuff. Fresh fruits and vegetables. Eat this instead of that.”

Crystal Childress, Audubon Area Community Services: “These food boxes have been an added blessing for some. For the elderly who can’t grow a garden anymore, to get some of those fresh fruits and vegetables has been a benefit. The availability to younger people who may not use fresh fruits and vegetables, it might make them think about looking up recipes, or for the working families who are struggling every day … this helps take some of the burden off of them…When I first heard about , I thought what a wonderful blessing this would be for our community as a whole…This is for everybody. There are no income limits or age limits. It’s fresh, free fruits and vegetables…I encourage anyone and everyone to come out and participate.”

Justin Jones, Lone Tree Foods: “To be able to deliver wonderful products that I know to be the best you can get grown here in Nebraska to folks who don't normally get to try them is really satisfying.”

Kathy Sullivan Romero, family engagement specialist for Head Start: “When I got to tell my families that we have a box of food for them to pickup I hear relief, I hear 'oh thank goodness,' or 'that's wonderful,' or 'this is really going to help my food budget which is already stretched thin.’”

Senator Richard Blumenthal: “At Saturday’s Farmers to Families Food Box Food Distribution event at Wade’s Dairy, it was truly wonderful to see everyone working together to help meet CT’s hunger needs.”

Congressman Dusty Johnson: “It was amazing to see how many people are being helped, but even more so, I was impressed by the teamwork aspect of the program. The Farmers to Families Food Box is a solid example of good government.”

Congressman Adrian Smith: “It’s great to see the efficiency of the products getting out. I mean, distribution: We’re a big country. We’re a big state and it takes a lot to distribute these products. That’s why it’s great to see this first hand.”

Congressman Andy Harris: “This is a win-win-win. Everybody wins by this program. What we’re seeing nationally, of course, as some places begin to reclose their restaurants, is the supply chain still needs to be supported. Obviously, here on the Eastern Shore, agriculture’s incredibly important for the communities. The communities win, our famers win, and obviously the recipients of the food win as well. So this is just a great program.”

Congressman Fred Upton: “Together, USDA and our growers in the community are certainly helping those in need with their actions.”

Texas Rep. Mike Conaway: “It was humbling to see the direct impact of this program through the faces of the families coming through the food line, many of whom have never had to rely on government assistance to feed their families before.”

North Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler: “When you can create a market for farm products and feed people at the same time, it doesn’t get any better than that. As we work our way through the pandemic, this is a key program to get agriculture from point A to point B.”

Ellen Zoppo-Sassu, Mayor of Bristol, CT: “We are thrilled as a city to have yet another opportunity to provide this in our community for those residents most in need.”

Lone Tree Foods, Chad Juranek: “Being able to help out with something like this on both ends, I can’t tell you how gratifying it is…We wanted to make sure we were able to keep moving, our farmers were able to keep product moving. And there’s a lot of people out there that need food.”

Catholic Charities volunteer Chuck White: “In 3 or 4 hours we are emptying a whole truck load of goods into people's cars and they are on their way to get to families that need them.”

Jason Webber, Old Orchard Beach Recreation Director: “The need is there and we're there to help as much as we can.”

Eli Brooks the pastor of Daystar Church in Madison: “I know just for me it can just be something that gives them a little leg up. It can just be something you don’t have to purchase this week and maybe it gives them a couple weeks of break from some of those more expensive things you have to buy at the store and that can just help people feel like man I can get through this time.”

Arlee community member: “You don’t know what this means to people living on fixed incomes, especially elders.”


is
absolutely beautiful.”


It’s
wonderful and impressive.”

Pastor Robinson: “There's a need in this area, there's a need all over…People are hungry. They need food, and it's just a way for us to help the community and help those that are trying to survive through this, to give them a little help.”

Greta Randolph, Directional Leader of Outreach at Saint Paul's Baptist Church: “We are trying to meet needs where we can. When the food program increased and the giving became bigger we are trying to get as much as we can so we can bless as many people as possible.”

The Neighbors Place Executive Director Donna Ambrose: “It’s a great opportunity for people to quickly and easily get nutritious food from area farmers.”

Lauren Broman, Pelican Harbor Food Bank: “Just a large, lovely assortment of stuff — good, basic food.”

Saint Williams Catholic Church: “The community really benefits from this government program it also keeps the farmers with pay, and also GO Fresh who does the delivery… It's supposed to be a win, win, win situation for all involved.”

Patti Miller, food service director at Sturgis Public Schools: “Wonderful program…We have had so many grateful families…Many have said it has saved a lot on grocery bills.”

Jenny Lowrey, From the Ground Up Farms: “Oh my God. Seventeen-hundred families are going to get free food today…Ah, I love this!”


resource
is awesome. Our families don’t have access to a lot of fresh food. … It’s such a treat for our families.”

Flo Stevenson, president of the Fairview Corporation: “We had about 20 volunteers to meet the people and bring them the boxes, and everyone was so friendly with each other. We worked hard, but it was an amazing experience.”


the program
connected exactly when we needed to connect, for people facing hunger right now.”

Allison Jennings, executive director of The Community Kitchen in Canton: “They’re awesome boxes, they send them whenever they’re available.”

Elevate Church Senior Pastor Shane Wenger: “A lady told us that the box of produce she receives feeds her for the week. It’s inspiring to others to want to be generous. I’d love to be known, not for our Sundays, but for what we do every day. Our best is you find that need and meet that need.”

Joy Standridge, Chickasaw Nation: “This project is designed to help provide relief to the food supply chain devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This initiative provides relief to farmers and distributors who lost demand for their food products. It provides relief to food banks and other nonprofits by making sure the products are made available already packed in boxes, which reduces the number of volunteers needed to work each event.”

Noah Drew, The University of North Texas Health Science Center: “We hope this program will alleviate some of the worries food-insecure families are experiencing during this pandemic and during hard economic times.”

Jonathan Wendorf, 11 y/o volunteer at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church: “This is helping out a lot of people.”

Jen England, 412 Food Rescue: “Our strategy at 412 Food Rescue has always been to get food to where people already are. During COVID-19, we’re connecting the USDA’s Farmers to Families food boxes with our region’s highest-need communities.”

The Neighbors Place Executive Director Donna Ambrose: “It's a great opportunity for people to quickly and easily get nutritious food from area farmers.”

Diamond King, owner of Samaritan's Market: “People really appreciate what the federal government, Prairie Farms and what we have been doing. This food has helped residents who have been out of work due to COVID-19 and those who are returning to the workforce. It is a blessing to help these families.”

South Jersey Dream Center: “The Dream Center is so blessed to be a part of the USDA "Farmers to Families Food Box Program" under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. Local distributor, J. Ambrogi Foods provides over 100 produce boxes to our facility each week, filled with fresh tomatoes, celery, apples, oranges, lettuce, potatoes, carrots and onions. Our agencies love them, including our friends at the First Baptist Church of Jericho.”

MS Egg Marketing Board: “What an @IncredibleEggs kinda day! Thanks to @CommAndyGipson and partners @TheDairyAlliance @MerchantsFS Borden Dairy Cal-Maine Foods, Inc. and the USDA “Farmers to Families” food box program we served nearly 1,400 families today.”

Commissioner Andy Gipson: “Thanks to everyone in our @MSDeptofAg family who made today’s @USDA Farmers to Families food distribution a huge success. We will do it again!”

The Federation of Southern Cooperatives: “The @USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program supply 20lb boxes of produce to families. This is allowing our Georgia farmers to put healthy food in the hands of families and sustain their farm operation. #SaturdayMotivation”

Feeding Tampa Bay: “Demand for food banks rise & nationwide programs emerge to meet the increased need. Programs like Farmers to Families bring family-sized food boxes of fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy, & meat to food banks across the county.”

Food Gatherers: “Through the @USDA's Farmers to Families Food Box Program, Food Gatherers receives produce boxes from Michigan food suppliers. Each box is filled with fresh fruits & veggies and is distributed to our hunger-relief network!”

JamborgiFoods: “Our USDA Farmers to Families Food Boxes have been a great success! We are so happy to support this wonderful program and provide healthy food to so many in our community.”

Waysidefoodprograms: “Every week we are getting 50 boxes of beautiful produce straight from our partners at @jordans_farm as part of the @usdagov Farmers to Families program. We are so lucky to have a such fresh and delicious bounty thanks to Maine farmers!”

AthenaFarms: “@athenafarms would like to thank @usda_ams agriculture secretary Sonny Purdue @usdagov for making such a successful program to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to families in need.”

Libertyfruitco: “Thank you @usdagov #farmerstofamiliesfoodbox program and our nonprofit partners for helping to connect communities and fight food insecurity one produce box at a time.”

WorldwideProduce: “Thank you to the #USDA for sharing our story - we are proud to be a part of the #FarmersToFamilies food box program helping our neighbors in need. We couldn’t do it without our dedicated Farmers and Dairymen, our passionate Charitable Partners and our hardworking team. Together we can make a great impact!”

Hamproduceseafood: “This photo was shared with us by @liliuokalanitrust from a Kaupo distribution. Kaupo is extremely peaceful and remote. We are so thankful that through the USDA Family Food Box Program we are able to reach people in these areas.”

Pwpmproducemkt: “The Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market was delighted to show Greg Ibach, Under Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, and his team the work that the Philly Market is doing for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Farmers to Families Food Box Program. We are thrilled to help growers, distributors, and families in this “triple win” initiative!”

ISDD: Innovation Services for Disadvantage and Disability of Decatur, GA: “This program has worked beautifully for us.”

Commonmarketse: “The Common Market Farmers to Families program, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has connected us to so many incredible regional organizations all rooted in community, and dedicated to helping nourish their neighbors. It’s also provided us the means to support our farmer network - diversifying and expanding it in the process. The impact illustrated in numbers reflects 6 weeks of collective effort - and we’re honored to kick off another cycle. Local, healthy food access is crucial - thank you to all for helping us help others! 65,651+ produce boxes delivered; 650,000 lbs. of produce distributed; 45+ different community partnerships formed; 17 family farms supported, 3 farm relationships were newly formed”

AlohaHarvest: “Food distributions like this make sure folks impacted by job loss have healthy meals and can worry about one less bill this month.”

food4livesatl: “Love, sweat and some elbow grease! Happy to provide fresh produce for those in need!”

Ruthsgleanings: “We are so full of gratitude for the continued bounty of produce we are able to distribute throughout our community.”

Funerallison: “@vbschools has partnered with @usdagov to give boxes of produce to families with school kids during these crazy Covid times. So so so thankful!”

Tellcitymayorcail: “A great program and a special THANK YOU to all of the volunteers who work hard to make this a success!”

OldmissionSB: “Over the last 9 weeks, in partnership with The Berry Man, Inc and The U.S.D.A Farmers to Families Food Box Program we handed out over 3,210 boxes of fresh produce to those in need. We are so grateful to have been a part of such a wonderful program!”

Communityfoodpantry: “Here at Community Food Pantry, our mission is to provide those facing food insecurity with nutritious groceries. This is made possible by wonderful organizations such as #FarmerstoFamilies that provided families in the Tampa Bay area with beautiful produce!”

Mauihui: “Mahalo to everyone who made today's produce box distribution successful. A special thank you to DHX Maui, Matson, @liliuokalanitrust, @hamproduceseafood, @usdagov and all of the farmers who grew the produce that have fed many of our families over this challenging time. We appreciate you much.”


   



         

 

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