The USDA is partnering with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the Chief Human Capital Officers, and other federal agencies in the 4th annual Feds Feed Families Food Drive. Feds Feed Families is a voluntary effort undertaken by Federal employees around the country to collect and donate perishable and non-perishable goods to food pantries and banks in their communities.
The challenge, which began in early June, encourages USDA employees to "beat our best" and donate more than 1.8 million pounds of food, topping last summer's donation by USDA of 1.79 million pounds of perishable and non-perishable food. Donations include fresh, healthy produce grown in People's Gardens across the country and collected from partnering with farmers and neighbors in local gleaning efforts.
"Across America - from our rural communities to our largest cities - we know there are families who are working hard but still need some help putting food on their plate," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "The Feds Feed Families food drive leverages the spirit of service that's shared by every Federal employee to help our food banks deliver assistance."
In Washington, DC, the Capital Area Food Bank receives collections and distributes them through their network of over 700 partner agencies. Outside of the Washington area, agencies are encouraged to support local providers in their community. USDA field offices have already registered over 1400 food drives nationwide.
The food drive started in June 2009 to help fill food bank shelves during tough economic times. USDA estimates show that nearly 50 million Americans - including 16 million children - struggle to put food on the table at some point during the year.
While USDA nutrition assistance programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and school feeding programs touch the lives of one in four Americans, food banks, pantries, community centers, and houses of worship provide extra help.
Many of these organizations report an increase in demand during the summer, when schools are out and children are at home with families. In addition, summer traditionally brings a decrease in donations. USDA employees are helping to fill this gap through the Feds Feed Families Food Drive. Learn more at www.fedsfeedfamilies.gov.