Across the country, media outlets have highlighted COVID-19’s impact on the nation’s agriculture. Hard-working farmers, who typically grow and source products for the food-service industry, were left with excess food as restaurants closed, and impossible decisions for disposing of it. We’ve seen many examples of produce being plowed under in fields, and milk being poured out. As you can imagine, the food bank network was compelled to do something. Feeding America worked with the USDA to develop a program to address the needs of our farmers and ranchers while ensuring that food banks across the country can continue to feed our hungry neighbors.
In April, The USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) was announced. The program aims to keep workers in the food industry employed and provide people in need with access to food. Over the next six months, The USDA plans to spend $300 million per month on produce, meat, and dairy products. The program will deliver pre-packaged boxes of fresh produce, dairy, and pre-cooked meats at no cost to nonprofit locations. There are no eligibility restrictions (such as income) for people who receive food boxes.
What does this mean for Care and Share?
Based on estimates presented at the launch of the program, Care and Share is projected to receive about 2.4 million pounds of CFAP food over six months. While some food banks will gain access to meat and dairy boxes, due to our geographic location in relation to food sources, our supply will be limited to produce and milk. All the CFAP food will have a short shelf life so we will need to distribute it quickly to ensure it makes it into the homes of our neighbors who need it most before it spoils. While the program is not without its challenges, we are excited to help rescue this food and look forward to passing nutrient rich food to our neighbors.