Children from Emerson Elementary School in Albuquerque, N.M., were treated to their own pumpkin, compliments of the New Mexico Farm Service Agency. More than 8,500 pumpkins were donated to schools, children’s hospitals and local food banks.
What started out with just a handful of FSA employees trying to do the right thing has turned into an annual event that spans six New Mexico counties.
Ten years ago John Perea, county executive director for Torrance County, N.M., started a project to glean pumpkins from farmers John and Dianne Aday.
“We started it as an effort to take pumpkins that were left in the field and still in good shape, and try to get them to needy children,” said Perea, who along with other FSA employees coordinates the event each year. “We try to find schools in areas which demographically have families that are lower income and in neighborhoods with a history of drug abuse and various social problems.” Read more »
USDA employees from Rural Development and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service assist at Harvesters, a local food bank.
USDA employees in Kansas from Rural Development and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service recently visited the Harvesters Distribution Center in Topeka in honor of National Service Day. Harvesters is a food bank that partners with more than 600 nonprofit agencies to provide nutritious food to individuals in 26-counties in northeast Kansas and northwest Missouri. Read more »
Secretary Vilsack surveys product donated to the San Antonio Food Bank with USDA FNS Southwest Regional Administrator Bill Ludwig and San Antonio Food Bank Executive Director Eric Cooper.
On August 23, Secretary Vilsack visited the San Antonio Food Bank, which – with the help of USDA and the Recovery Act – is assisting the needy during these difficult economic times. Read more »
Story and Photos by Phil Eggman, USDA Rural Development, Washington State Office
Donating a little bit of time can go a long way to making a big difference for people. Just ask the employees of USDA Rural Development in Washington State who, on July 13, donated two hours of their time at the end of a hectic day to make food packages for the elderly, young mothers, infants and children at the Thurston County Food Bank located in downtown Olympia. Read more »
Darlene Barnes, Mountain Plains Regional Administrator, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service
It was going to be tough matching Wednesday’s visit to Colorado Springs, but if anyplace can compare, it’s breathtaking Salt Lake City. But Utah is more than just a pretty face. It’s one of seven new states this year that began operating the USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP). Thanks to Utah and others’ commitment, CSFP participation now includes 39 states, two Indian Tribal Organizations, and the District of Columbia.
While there, I took the opportunity to tour the Bountiful Food Pantry, the first site in the Salt Lake area to begin distributing food packages. CSFP food packages there are available to the elderly as well as to women, infants, and children. A little later I was joined by staff from the Food and Nutrition Service’s Mountain Plains Regional Office, where we took part in a celebration for CSFP at the Utah Food Bank. I also had a chance to see their recently renovated food bank, and its a gorgeous facility! A number of community partners came out to support the program, helping us get the word out about CSFP. I’m confident we’ll be successful in spreading that important message to those most in need – in large part to the efforts of Utah’s food community.
Janey Thornton, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, (in center) and Darlene Barnes, Administrator of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s Mountain Plains Region (second from left) traveled to Utah May 13 to help promote the launch of the Commodity Supplemental Food Program in the State.
Last Friday marked the final collection day for the Feds Feed Families, a government-wide summer food drive led by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Typically, summer is the slowest time for food bank donations, but the needs of hungry people stay the same throughout the year. Therefore, OPM set a goal for D.C. area federal employees to donate 1 million pounds of food over the summer to make sure that the Capital Area Food Bank, stays well stocked with food for needy people through this difficult time of year.
USDA employees throughout the D.C. metro area responded enthusiastically to this opportunity to help the less fortunate members of our local community. For example, some of the employees at USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) had a contest to see who in their office could bring in the most food. The results were amazing, with four gigantic boxes filled in the space of a few days!
As the final collection day approached, all hands were on deck to promote awareness of the event among the USDA employee community. Last week, Secretary Vilsack sent an email to all USDA employees that included a video appeal from Deputy Secretary Merrigan. On Friday morning, countless boxes full of non-perishable foods and other essential items were transported from all over USDA’s DC area buildings to loading docks to await pickup. The DC National Guard then delivered the food to the Capital Area Food Bank.
USDA staff was proud to do its part to make this food drive a huge success, and help out the neediest members of the Washington area community. In fact, this food drive is just one of the ways USDA employees have participated in President Obama’s United We Serve. United We Serve initiative, which calls upon all Americans to serve their communities in these difficult times. As they look toward the future, USDA employees look forward to continuing to help their fellow Americans “every day, in every way!”