Maya Kwok, 3, helps during a planting project at the Richmond, Edible Forest as part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Maya is the daughter of Alfred Kwok, assistant station director, business operations, for the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station. (U.S. Forest Service photo)
From planting fruit trees in a Richmond, Calif., edible forest to laying 32 feet of boardwalk to make an Atlanta urban forest accessible to everyone, U.S. Forest Service employees across the country joined their communities to make a difference as part of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service. Read more »
In a 1957 sermon, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., challenged the congregation, asking: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ’What are you doing for others?’ ”
Throughout his lifetime, Dr. King was passionately committed to community and service. On January 21st, USDA Rural Development is proud to join with Americans from all walks of life to honor Dr. King’s legacy through a National Day of Service. The Day of Service — a “day on, not a day off” — is part of United We Serve, President Obama’s national call to service initiative.
At USDA Rural Development, “doing for others” is one of our core rural values, and we encourage everyone in our organization to practice Dr. King’s principals of community, volunteerism and service not just on the Day of Service but throughout the year. In Tennessee, the “Volunteer State,” USDA Rural Development employees in the State Office in Nashville helped the hungry over the past year by donating more than 3,800 pounds of food through the USDA Feds Feed Families food drive to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. State Office employees also helped the food bank, which provides food to about 600,000 people across 46 counties each year, to sort food items for easier distribution. Read more »
Written by Hakim Fobia, Agricultural Marketing Service Public Affairs Specialist
Around the world, USDA employees continue their commitment to public service as a testament to Abraham Lincoln’s nickname as the “People’s Department.” Yesterday Secretary Tom Vilsack hosted the 62nd Annual Secretary’s Honors Awards, celebrating employees who went above and beyond the call of duty in support of the Department’s mission. Read more »
By Stacy Porto, Special Assistant
Federal employees from across the country are coming together to do what the USDA does every day – increase food security and reduce hunger by providing low-income people access to food.
Inspired by President Obama’s United We Serve Act, the Feds, Farmers, and Friends Feed Families food drive began as a response to serve in your own community. USDA is leading the effort and Secretary Vilsack reminded us that while the needs of those who are hungry are great, “our opportunity to make a difference in their lives is also great.” No one should go hungry, and no one should be without access to healthy, nutritious foods. Read more »
This week, as families across America prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, the Obama Administration is asking Americans to think about their neighbors who are struggling to put food on the table. Although we are the richest nation in the world, the food security report released last Monday by USDA’s Economic Research Service indicates that hunger is a serious and growing problem in the United States. In 2008, more than 49 million people, including more than 16 million children, were at risk of going hungry in America, up from 35 million in 2007.
President Obama and Secretary Vilsack have made addressing the issue of hunger in America a high priority of this Administration. For example, the President has committed to ending childhood hunger in this country by 2015. Secretary Vilsack recently stated that “it is time for America to get very serious about food security and hunger.”
In addition to government efforts, however, we must also work together to address the problem in our own communities. The families, children and individuals that worry about where their next meal will come from, or have to skip a few meals, could live right next door to you. Everyone has a role to play. In this spirit, the Corporation for National and Community Service is launching the United We Serve: Feed a Neighbor initiative this week in collaboration with the White House and USDA. The purpose of the initiative is to raise public awareness of hunger issues and ask Americans to help ensure that their neighbors have access to nutritional food this winter and throughout the year.
There are many ways for Americans from all walks of life to help combat hunger through service. Serve.gov allows visitors to search for local volunteer opportunities. In addition, the USDA Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships has prepared a volunteer toolkit in conjunction with the Food and Nutrition Service. This toolkit outlines a wide variety of opportunities and resources that can help ordinary people fight hunger in their communities.
You can access the toolkit online here. As we think about everything we are thankful for this week, let us also remember those who are less fortunate, and do what we can to help end hunger in America.
In Gering, Nebraska (pop.8000 ) over the Oregon Trail Park, right next to the high school football field lies the Ever Green House. A project of Community Action Partnership of Western Nebraska, the Ever Green House is a family and community development center featuring a community garden, a greenhouse, and a farmer’s market. With a mission of building community through gardening, horticultural education, community beautification and environmental stewardship, the mission encompasses many of the goals that the USDA is promoting. Read more »