SAN TAN VALLEY — As the result of restaurants and schools being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, many food growers were having to destroy products of all kinds, including eggs, meat, fruits, vegetables and dairy products. This resulted in the federal government allocating $3 billion for a program to utilize these products and help those who had lost their jobs.
The U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers to Families Food Box program has been delivering food in family-sized boxes to food banks, community and faith-based organizations and other nonprofits since mid-May. The first round ended June 30, the second round ends Aug. 31, and a third phase has been approved from Sept. 1 to Oct. 31.
This is the largest concentrated purchase of fresh produce in USDA history, bringing a boost to participating growers, distributors and others in the supply chain.
The healthy and nutritious products are getting to those most in need through food banks, school programs and other emergency feeding sites.
Of the $3 billion, $1.2 billion was utilized in the first round and $1.47 billion in the second. One $40 million contract was canceled in the first round and will be added to the remainder for the third round.
The food boxes contain dairy, meat and fruits and vegetables. The vendors pre-pack the boxes that are shipped to the respective places for distribution. The meat must be cooked and frozen.
One site providing these boxes is Champion Schools at 1864 E. Bella Vista Road in San Tan Valley. The boxes are available from 9 to 11 on Wednesday mornings.
Volunteers are needed to help with the distribution. To help, contact Christopher Greene, Champion Schools food director, at 480-664-3379, ext. 115 or firstname.lastname@example.org
“It’s as easy as lining up, drive-thru style, popping your trunk, and a volunteer will place the one dairy and one produce box in your car hassle free,” Greene said.
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