Ivanka Trump, USDA Launch Fresh Box Program

Initiative connects surplus items to food banks, others.

Ivanka Trump joined Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to launch a $3 billion initiative intended to connect surplus produce, meat and dairy with food banks and other nonprofits that serve people in need. The USDA initiative, called the Families Food Box Program, is made possible through the Coronavirus Farmer Assistance Program that was part of the CARES Act and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

“I’m proud that the majority of the recipients are small and regional food suppliers who prioritize smaller farms and nonprofits in their bids,” Ivanka Trump said at the event. She wore a black face mask adorned with an American flag pin, except when delivering her remarks.

A well-known food distributor based outside Washington, D.C., Coastal Sunbelt, will be a major participant in the public-private program. They have nearly 1,000 employees, and brought back some who had been furloughed to help pack the boxes. Coastal Sunbelt is to provide thousands of boxes with a mix of American-grown fresh fruits and vegetables. Other boxes in the program will include dairy products, pre-cooked meats, or a combination of all three. It is expected they will deliver 35,000 boxes a week to food banks, community and religious organizations, and other nonprofits through June 30.

The USDA has been under mounting pressure to rescue millions of pounds of wasted food as jobless claims and lines at food banks have swelled.  Food distributors saw sharp decline in business after restaurants and other food service establishments shut down or cut back because of the pandemic.

During the event, Agriculture Secretary Perdue said that President Trump had called him and said, “Sonny, I want you to bring me a program that will work.”

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For the success of the new initiative to deliver food, that would otherwise be discarded, to food banks and other groups.
  • For the many people in need of nutritional items during this pandemic.

Sources: Politico, CBS News


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