COVID-19 News

USDA Farmers to Families delivers 50M food boxes for COVID-19 relief

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced on July 29 that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farmers to Families Food Box Program has distributed more than 50 million food boxes in support of American farmers and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The delivery of 50 million food boxes has helped an incredible number of Americans in need,” Perdue said. “I couldn’t be prouder of the great job done by the food box program staff and the many farmers, distributors and non-profits that helped to get this program off the ground for the American people. The Farmers to Families Food Box Program got off to a strong start, delivering over 35.5 million boxes in the first 45 days, and has now reached over 50 million boxes delivered – a testament to everyone’s hard work. I have been meeting with food banks and recipients across the country and it’s been heartening to hear all the positive feedback on how the program has saved businesses and fed Americans in need. We are well into the second round of deliveries and we’re working harder than ever to continue to build on the success of the program.”

On April 17, 2020, Perdue announced the program as part of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program developed to help farmers, ranchers, distributors and consumers in response to the COVID-19 national emergency.

From May 15 through June 30, the first period of performance, the program successfully delivered 35 million boxes, valued at $947 million in support of American farmers and families.

To build on that success, USDA extended some well performing distributors to continue food deliveries for purchases up to $1.27 billion and also awarded $202 million to new distributors to continue increasing capacity in underserved areas, for the second performance period of July 1 through Aug. 31, 2020.

Additionally, in mid-July, USDA announced it would launch a third round of Farmers to Families Food Box Program purchases, with distributions to occur beginning by September 1 with completion by October 31, 2020. The purchases will spend the balance of $3 billion authorized for the program. In this third round of purchases, USDA plans to purchase combination boxes to ensure all recipient organizations have access to fresh produce, dairy products, fluid milk, and meat products.

Eligibility in the third round will be open to entities who can meet the government’s requirements and specifications. Proposals will be expected to illustrate how coverage will be provided to areas identified as opportunity zones, detail subcontracting agreements, and address the “last mile” delivery of product into the hands of the food insecure population.

Both extended and new contracts continue to require audits to ensure food safety plans are being followed, 100% U.S. grown and raised food is being procured and delivered, and food products meet all of USDA’s high-quality standards. Payments to distributors under the Farmers to Families Food Box Program are only made upon the submission of an invoice documenting evidence of delivery and adherence to contractual requirements.

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