Jun 4, 2020Farmers to Families Food Box Program reaches 5 million boxes distributed
USDA announced June 4 that the department’s Farmers to Families Food Box Program has distributed more than 5 million food boxes in support of American farmers and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Farmers to Families Food Box Program was designed to put American farmers and distributors of all sizes back to work while supporting over-burdened food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other non-profits serving Americans in need, and the program is doing just that,” U.S. Secretary of Agricultture Sonny Perdue said in a news release. “It’s encouraging to see the passion with which farmers, distributors and non-profits have gone above and beyond to make this program work in support of the American people. Although a momentous milestone, this is only the beginning for the program, and with continued support we expect up to 40 million boxes will be delivered throughout the country by June 30th.”
You may click HERE to watch a highlight video of USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box Program in action across the United States.
Regular updates to the number of food boxes distributed will be posted on USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) website.
On April 17, 2020, Perdue announced the program as part of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program developed to help farmers, ranchers and consumers in response to the COVID-19 national emergency.
In under 30 days, the program contracted for $1.2 billion in food products including $461 million in fresh fruits and vegetables, $317 million in a variety of dairy products, $258 million in meat products and $175 million in a combination box of fresh produce, dairy or meat products, and began distribution of the food boxes across the United States on May 15, 2020.
Less than three weeks later, over 5 million food boxes have been distributed to families in need while providing much needed support to critically impacted agricultural sectors.
AMS partnered with national, regional and local suppliers, whose workforce has been significantly impacted by the closure of restaurants, hotels and other food service businesses. Suppliers package food products into family-sized boxes and then transport them to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other non-profits serving Americans in need.
As the end approaches of the initial round of Farmers to Families Food Box Program contracts worth $1.2 billion, USDA is exploring options to continue serving American farmers and families up to the program’s $3 billion authorization. USDA may extend current contracts or award additional contracts to ensure underserved areas are provided an opportunity to participate in the program.
As the program prepares to enter the next phase, evaluations are ongoing to determine how to extend the program’s service in underserved communities.