As summer has faded into fall, this is another season when many Americans are struggling to make ends meet. USDA programs already make a big difference in the lives of many Americans: the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps over 45 million Americans put nutritious food on the table. This summer, USDA employees went even further and helped fill the shelves of food banks and pantries around the country through the 3rd Annual Feds Feed Families Food Drive. With generosity in their hearts and the mission of fighting hunger, USDA employees joined together nationwide and raised an impressive 1,791,393 pounds of food for donation! That number breaks down further to a donation of about 15 pounds per employee. Thank you to all USDA employees and partners who contributed to this remarkable donation. Your efforts reinforce the Department’s efforts to help people every day, every way.
Recognizing the power of partnerships with their communities, local, state and regional offices worked with local farmers, food banks, community and faith-based organizations to start food drives throughout the country. The Rural Development Office in Humboldt, Iowa motivated communities with the slogan “Smallest County, Biggest Heart” to emphasize that no matter how small a town, big things are possible. Through creative advertising in radio broadcasts, flyers, and newspaper articles, the Humboldt Office boosted the morale of their county and established relationships with local organizations to fill pantry shelves faster.
Another exciting partnership was between Dakota Growers Pasta Company and the North Dakota Farm Service Agency Office. Executive Director Aaron Krauter was motivated to start off his office’s Feds Feed Families food drive with an ample contribution and decided to donate a pallet of pasta (that is about 1,600 pounds of spaghetti!). Mr. Krauter supports local business and called the pasta company that purchases the durum wheat he produces to get a price quote. Mr. Krauter said “he was a little blown away at the answer,” because the voice on the other line replied, “You must have caught me at a weak moment – it’s free.”
By developing and building on strong community relationships in our hometowns, USDA employees were able to collect the second largest Feds Feed Families donation government-wide and surpassed the department’s goal of 500,000 pounds by the greatest percentage of any federal agency: 348 percent! We’d like to offer a hearty congratulations and round of applause for all USDA employees. We hope that you are proud of your efforts this summer. Thank you for all that you have done and all that you continue to do to help the American people in these difficult times.