As of May 15th and going through June30th 2020 the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Team Trump are distributing $1.2 billion worth of fresh food via food boxes to Americans nationwide.
This may be extended by several weeks and also by funds allocated, up to $3 billion.
How does it work?
The USDA's marketing and procurement arm, the AMS, buys surplus food from farmers and other suppliers, namely fresh produce, meat and dairy. They then allocate the food to regional distributors who then get it to American families through points of distribution at neighborhood faith-based centers, community centers and food banks.
The program was officially announced on May 8 by the USDA.
Both Ivanka Trump, special adviser to the president, and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, have been behind this program and champions of it, since its inception. Other key organizers are Mike Beatty of the Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement, Brandon Lipps, Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services and Bruce Summers, administrator of the AMS.
The official statement on, USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program:
"This is a new, innovative approach to provide critical support to American farmers and families, and USDA moved as expeditiously as federal procurement rules allow to stand up the program and solicit offers,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “We were pleased to see the abundance of interest from both food distributors and non-profit organizations. Within days, the Farmers to Families Food Box Program will begin distributing surplus food, while safeguarding food safety techniques, to communities across the country where it’s needed most."
So far, so good. Much of the food purchased by the USDA is food that would have otherwise gone to restaurants, schools, hotels and other food service businesses. But since the mass closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, farmers, meat and dairy suppliers were left stuck holding the bag. And, quite literally in many cases, a quickly rotting bag of food.
So, in a brilliant and impressively fast-acting move, the government stepped in to aid both our food suppliers and our families. Distribution of food boxes began on May 15. You can find a partial list of suppliers that bid successfully here for this program.
With a full list on the USDA.gov website.
According to the informational call held a couple weeks before launch, the boxes are mixed. Some food boxes contain fruits and vegetables, some contain meat and other dairy. Of course neither meat nor dairy are mixed in with fruits and veggies.
Families and those in need can coordinate with their local food bank or faith/community center to see how best to collect one of these Farmers to Families food boxes.
Anyone who would like to learn more about the program can access the USDA.gov site where zoom calls and, truly, a cornucopia of information about the program is parked. Here's a link to one call that took place April 20 Call with distributors and non-profit organizations to overview the Farmers to Families Food Box Program Listen to the call (mp3)
So far, Trump's government has committed to purchasing:
$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.
This could be increased to a total of $3b Billion in food supply purchases if it becomes necessary to extend the program past June 30.
For its fast-acting, innovation, generosity and efficiency in regards to responding to the potential of Americans' food insecurity during this crisis, you have to give Team Trump and the USDA an A plus on this one.
You can read more about the Familes Food Box Program here:
Paige Donner has contributed to Newsmax since 2018. She's a media expert, commentator, novelist, and serial entrepreneur. She founded the company, Paris Food And Wine in 2013. In 2018, she founded IoTShipping, a supply chain logistics startup that uses the Internet of Things (IoT) for precision traceability of shipped goods. Paige began her journalism career in Paris, France in 1990. Her first job out of university was with Time-Life's rue Fbg. St. Honore offices. Within the next two years, she took freelancing work as a copy editor for the International Herald Tribune, now re-branded the International New York Times, as well as writing assignments for Variety — the film and television trade magazine. Paige has also clerked for the Senate President of the Hawaii State Legislature. A filmmaker, she has written several television pilots as well as directed television commercials and film shorts. She also contributed to American Cinematographer, the Los Angeles Times, Daily Variety, Huffpost, and a film production trade magazine, Below The Line. As of 2010, Paige has again made Paris, France her home. She has also written for the International New York Times. Since 2013, she has been the sole regular local editor/photographer contributor based in Paris, France for USA Today. Read Paige Donner's Reports — More Here.
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