We left the cool warehouse with sticky shoes and smelling of spoiled bananas, but also with a warm feeling for having helped the North Texas Food Bank in Dallas ensure healthy, fresh food for their clients. Hundreds of cases of bananas had been donated, but when food bank staff checked the produce it was too spoiled to be used. However, the sturdy produce boxes could be salvaged for further use, so 32 USDA volunteers from the Food and Nutrition Service Southwest Regional Office and USDA Risk Management Agency rolled up their sleeves to empty and then reassemble the boxes. This was a great opportunity for us to work together with other USDA employees and see the food bank in operation first hand. The project was part of the January 12th USDA National Day of Service honoring the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
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On January 12, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack recognized and celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King’s Birthday by declaring a National Service Day for all USDA employees. The National Service Day honored Dr. King’s contributions to the Civil Rights Movement. Events were held simultaneously at all USDA Offices followed by a variety of Service Projects conducted in communities nationwide. USDA Rural Development Jackson, Mississippi state office employees, Michelle Wilkerson, Eliza Garcia, Ericka Butler, and Jennifer Jimerson spent National Service Day volunteering at the Jackson Stewpot Community Center. Read more »
It was nice to once again experience the sounds, smells, and activity at the New Mexico State Fair – where “every day is a holiday.” Accompanied by some of my USDA staff, rode on the 4-H float in the NM State Fair Parade. Along the three mile parade route down Central Ave, we greeted spectators and heard compliments on 4-H. As we passed in front of the grand stand and heard the commentator’s description of each entry in English and Spanish, I was reminded of the uniqueness of the multi-cultural emphasis in the “Land of Enchantment.” Read more »
Hundreds of bell peppers in shades of green, red, orange and yellow were on the chopping block today at the DC Central Kitchen. The peppers, personally delivered by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack from the USDA Farmer’s Market, were on their way into quesadillas as part of the lunch menu at the DC Central Kitchen. Read more »