The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) partnered with the Office of Personnel Management to participate in the Feds, Farmers, and Friends Feed Families (F5), a food drive. This food drive benefited local food banks identified by state and area/local USDA offices.
All South Dakota Farm Service Agency (FSA), the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Rural Development (RD) employees and the general public were encouraged to bring hygiene products and non-perishable food items – especially nutritious foods and sources of protein – to USDA offices through September 14, 2010.
Staff from the three agencies joined with the public to collect a total of 7,103 pounds of non-perishable food items which were distributed to local food banks and programs. The Rapid City and Yankton Area Offices took the lead with the number of pounds collected. Many of the shelters in the state have doubled the number of families they are serving compared to last year. With winter just around the corner, the food drive was conducted during a time of high need.
The three agencies divided their collection between the Backpack Program, Helping Hands, and the Salvation Army.
The Backpack Program is for children in Huron who may be at-risk of hunger over the weekend when they do not have access to school lunches. The program provides at-risk children with easy-to-prepare foods. Volunteers fill food sacks each week and deliver them to participating schools. The food is then placed into bags and distributed at the end of the school day on Thursday to the Head Start children and on Friday to the elementary children to take home.
Community support towards this initiative has been tremendous and we’d like to thank everyone who contributed to this very worthy cause.