FORT LEE, Virginia –
The USDA’s Feds Feed Families campaign for 2021 began June 1 and continues through Aug. 31 for federal workers and commissary customers and employees who want to donate to food banks and pantries in their area.
For the second straight year, the Department of Defense has designated the Defense Commissary Agency, or DeCA, the leader of the campaign for the military, said Randy Eller, the agency’s director of logistics.
“We’re proud to be taking the lead for a campaign held across the Department of Defense, which allows us to showcase how caring and giving our people and patrons are, and also demonstrates the Department’s commitment to helping people in need,” Eller said.
Last year DOD and DeCA together collected over 2.3 million pounds of donated goods. So far this calendar year, DeCA has already collected over 1.3 million pounds from commissaries according to Eller. Since DeCA’s donation program operates year-round its total is eligible to be counted in the final number for the annual food drive, Eller explained.
Participating installations help collect items most needed by food pantries and then donate them to area food banks. Commissary customers and employees have a couple of options to participate:
• By purchasing needed food and personal hygiene products for donation while shopping at stateside commissaries, or bringing items from home and dropping them off at donation bins at the store
• By purchasing prepackaged donation bags available in stateside commissaries for less than $10. The bags include Freedom’s Choice products such as canned meat, pasta meals, popcorn and water.
Once collected, installation officials work with the commissary to deliver donations to local food banks.
Some of the most-needed items include:
• Canned vegetables – low sodium, or no salt
• Canned fruits – in light syrup or their own juices
• Canned proteins – tuna, salmon, chicken, peanut butter and beans
• Soups – beef stew, chili, chicken, turkey or rice
• Condiments – tomato-based sauces, light soy sauce, ketchup, mustard, salad dressing or oils
• Snacks – individually packed snacks, trail mix, dried fruit, granola and cereal bars
• Multigrain cereals
• 100 percent juice – all sizes, including juice boxes
• Grains – brown and white rice, oatmeal, bulgar, quinoa, couscous, pasta, and macaroni and cheese
• Paper products and household items – paper towels, napkins and cleaning supplies
• Hygiene items – diapers, deodorants, feminine products, toilet paper, soap, toothpaste and shampoo
“The annual Feds Feed Families food drive is a great way for commissaries and military families to give back to the communities that host us around the nation,” said Marine Sgt. Maj. Michael R. Saucedo, senior enlisted advisor to DeCA’s director. “The summer months typically see a drop in food bank donations, so it's the perfect time to set aside a few items to donate. A little goes a long way.”
For more information on this campaign, visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website at www.usda.gov/our-agency/initiatives/feds-feed-families.