The coronavirus has impacted the way we lead our daily lives, and that includes how we eat. With many restaurants, hotels and schools closed, the food supply chain has had to adapt in order to bring to market the food we need to live.
At the direction of President Trump, USDA built from the ground up an innovative new program called the Farmers to Families Food Box. This $3 billion program is supporting America’s farmers and producers by partnering with distributors to buy food that would otherwise go uneaten and distribute it to families and people who need food. It's been just a few weeks, and the Farmers to Families Food Box Program has already begun distributing safe, wholesome and nutritious food to communities across the country where it’s needed most.
On May 8, USDA approved 198 contracts totaling more than $1.2 billion to support American producers and communities in need through the program. These companies will source surplus food from farmers, producers and ranchers across the country. These businesses right now are purchasing quality food from farmers who normally sell to restaurants: $461 million in fresh fruits and vegetables, $317M in dairy products, $258M in meat products and $175M in a combination box of fresh produce, dairy or meat products.
After purchasing the food, the businesses package it into family-sized boxes with fresh produce, dairy and meat products, then transport these boxes across America – to food banks, community, faith-based organizations and other non-profits that serve American families.
Mississippi has distributors committed to delivering 558,600 food boxes across the state to non-profit partners who will distribute them to local families in need through Aug. 31.
This innovative approach to provide critical support to American farmers and families is the best that America has to offer — pulling together healthy, nutritious food produced by American farmers, being boxed up and put together by American companies impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, then distributed to those in need. It truly is an example of Americans helping Americans.