Food Banks

Daughter-in-chief: Ivanka Trump pushes food distribution program

The U.S. Agriculture Department is unveiling a new food distribution program with an emphasis on aiding small businesses – an issue that is being pushed by a very prominent White House adviser. Her name: Ivanka Trump. Under the “Farmers to Families Food Box Program,” the federal government buys meat, produce and dairy products from farmers and ranchers and then provides it to local distribution centers that pack and deliver food boxes to those in need. It “really creates a virtuous cycle,” Trump told USA TODAY in an interview, citing a “robust demand” from food producers, consumers and “the most vulnerable in these challenging times.” Trump and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, who also participated in the interview, said the program will also address gaps in the food supply chain spawned by the coronavirus. “There was a misallocation of supply and demand, temporarily,” Perdue said. The program is a symbol of how the president’s eldest daughter is making her presence felt on a number of issues during the coronavirus pandemic. She has pushed for more aid to small businesses in programs designed to manufacture personal protective equipment, the paycheck protection program, and economic injury disaster loans. Trump, who called UPS chief executive David Abney about volunteering trucks to make food box deliveries, said she and others are “pulling all the levers” they can. And, no, the last name doesn’t hurt. “I think when you work in the White House, you tend to have your calls returned,” Trump said. “And I think most Americans are patriots and want to answer the call to action when things are requested of them.” She added: “I’m not shy about asking people to step up to the plate. The whole country needs to be galvanized in the effort, both to combat this deadly virus, but also to rebuild … to rebuild our economy as we emerge.” Trump spoke a day before the formal kickoff of the Food Box program, part of the stimulus plan known as the CARES Act. She will visit a distribution center in Laurel, Maryland, as the first food box deliveries go out the door. The USDA has already awarded $1.2 billion to food distributors to buy meat, dairy and produce products that farmers have been unable to sell because of government lockdowns. The distributors will pack the food into boxes for delivery to food banks, community and nonprofits that have had trouble getting food because of problems with the supply chain. “We’ll be up to $3 billion in total as it rolls out,” she said.

Outstanding!!  Major kudos to Ivanka for her work on this important issue.  For more, click on the text above.   Excellent!!      🙂

USDA to Purchase $470 Million in Excess Food from Farmers, Deliver to Needy

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced this week that it would be purchasing $470 million in excess food from farmers to deliver to those in need. The USDA’s latest program aims to combat food waste, which has become a massive problem since the coronavirus began as schools, restaurants, and even hotels have closed down to customers — leaving farmers with a surplus of food and nowhere to sell it. It also aims to help local food banks throughout the country, which have seen a surge in demand as people have lost their jobs, and schools have shuttered. Politico reported that the purchases will target meat, dairy, vegetables, and seafood — all markets that have plummeted since restaurants and food service businesses have closed. The USDA said that it would spend money on fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, and seafood products from farmers and ranchers as part of the initiative, including $120 million in dairy products, $50 million in potatoes, and $30 million in chicken. “America’s farmers and ranchers have experienced a dislocated supply chain caused by the coronavirus. USDA is in the unique position to purchase these foods and deliver them to the hungry Americans who need it most,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in a press release. The USDA will begin deliveries to the organizations under its Food and Nutrition Service nutrition assistance programs, including food banks, starting in July.

This is a win-win idea!  Major kudos to Sec. Sonny Perdue, and his team at USDA, for making this happen.  Excellent!!     🙂