The annual Feds Feed Families food drive is a summer-long effort, but USDA employees in Missouri donate to the Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri all year long. Eight years ago, Tara Griffin, a Missouri Farm Service Agency state office employee, took the initiative to organize USDA employees to volunteer once a month at the Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri. Employees repackaged bulk food for individual use and sorted food products, giving them the chance to see first-hand the impact the food bank has on local communities. The experience was so powerful that Missouri USDA employees have continued to volunteer at the Food Bank once a month ever since.
Thus, it is no surprise that Missouri USDA employees are so eager to give back to the food bank each year through the Feds Feed Families campaign. Collaboration between USDA agencies within the Missouri office has allowed for friendly competition and spurred the generation of creative ideas to help make the state’s Fed Feed Families campaign a success.
One creative idea included establishing a goal of collecting 150 pounds of food for the food bank in celebration of the USDA’s 150th Anniversary this past May. To raise the bar, employees decided to collect enough cans to make a can sculpture spelling out “USDA”. The Missouri employees stepped up to the plate and presented 3,597 pounds of food to the food bank in honor of USDA’s anniversary! So far this summer, Missouri’s USDA employees stepped up once again, collecting 19,990 pounds of food for their state’s Feds Feed Families effort!
Missouri USDA is able to contribute so much to alleviating hunger in their communities by incorporating the collection of food into nearly every employee team-building activity. Employee pizza parties, picnics, and a summer employee “carnival” have all been planned as incentives to not only encourage fellowship among employees, but to encourage giving back to the community.
Last year, the Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri distributed over 28 million pounds of food and household products in their 32-county service area. The generosity of Missouri USDA State Office employees contributed 31,000 pounds to this effort. The food bank estimates that donations such as those of Missouri USDA allow their partner agencies to help nearly 100,000 food insecure people each month. Thank you to Missouri USDA for playing such an inspiring role in helping Feds Feed Families!