WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently kicked off the 12th annual government-wide Feds Feed Families (FFF) campaign, which encourages employees from all federal departments and agencies to give in-kind contributions — food, services, and time — to food banks and pantries. This year’s campaign highlights a summer of giving in June through August, along with seasonal reminders to donate throughout the year.
“Feeding the hungry is perhaps the most critical job we have,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “As the lead agency for this federal-wide food drive, I encourage all federal employees across the country to participate in this worthwhile effort.”
The 2021 campaign focuses on online donations and virtual food drives, while also providing guidance for in-person donations and events as appropriate. Federal employees can go to the website, the FFF Hub, to find out how and where to donate online or in-person at food banks and food pantries, how to organize virtual food drives, how to find field or warehouse gleaning opportunities, and how to share donation success stories. Since FFF in-kind donations are measured in pounds rather than dollars, the website makes it easier than ever to record contributions.
There are many ways to participate:
- Become an FFF Champion at your department or agency to motivate your colleagues to voluntarily participate.
- Find a food pantry or food bank and donate online or in person. Purchase food at an online grocer and have it delivered directly to a food bank or pantry. Drop off food donations at your local food bank or pantry. Record your donation on the FFF Hub.
- Volunteer on your own time. Plant-a-Row: harvest and donate produce from neighborhood gardens and trees. Glean at a farm or food bank to harvest produce or help food distribution. Record your donation on the FFF Hub.
- Host or attend a virtual food drive event. Join your colleagues online to learn about food insecurity in your community and how to voluntarily donate to participating local organizations.
- Combined Federal Campaign (CFC): Consider donating to a food bank or food pantry through the CFC September-January giving season. Record your donation on the FFF Hub, and the monetary value or volunteer time will be converted into pounds.
The 2021 Food Drive focuses on healthy, nutritious foods. Participants may collect nonperishable foods and fresh foods (as appropriate for each food bank). Items most wanted by food pantries include high protein foods such as canned or dry beans, peanut butter, canned tuna, and salmon. Also in demand: grains (such as brown and white rice, pasta, and macaroni and cheese), hot and cold cereal, canned vegetables, canned fruit, dried fruits, 100 percent juice drinks, granola bars, and soups.
Since Feds Feed Families launched in 2009, this campaign has collected more than 99 million pounds of food for donation. In 2020 alone, federal employees donated more than 7.2 million pounds. USDA is the designated lead agency for the national Feds Feeds Families campaign for the U.S. government nationwide.
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