The fourth round of Farmers to Families Food Boxes has been announced by the USDA.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it has authorized $500 million for the fourth round of purchases for the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program. It said it is issuing solicitations for the fourth round to existing Basic Order Agreement holders and expects to award contracts by Oct. 30 for deliveries of food boxes from Nov. 1 – Dec. 31, 2020.
According to the USDA, in the fourth round, as in the third, boxes have been distributed to states based on the internal need of each state. It said the program will continue the purchase of combination boxes to ensure the inclusion of fresh produce, dairy products, fluid milk and meat products.
“The USDA has consistently provided support to Americans impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, providing the resources and flexibilities needed to ensure families in need are fed,” said U.S. Congressman Roger Marshall, M.D. “I have been in communities across Kansas that have utilized this program to provide additional nutritional support to impacted families. The food box program does more than just provide fresh milk and produce, it supports our farmers and keeps people on the job who would have otherwise lost employment due to changes in consumer demands.”
The Department said the program will also continue to require proposals to illustrate how coverage would be provided to areas identified as opportunity zones, detail subcontracting agreements and address the “last mile” of food distribution into the hands of the food insecure population. It said those who meet the government’s requirements and specifications will be issued agreements and submit pricing through a competitive acquisition process.
“I’m gratified by the overwhelmingly positive response to the Farmers to Families Food Box program from families, distributors, food banks, faith-based organizations and non-profits in communities across the country. We recently surpassed 110 million boxes delivered, and millions more are headed to Americans in need,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said. “I’m very pleased that we are able to extend this program and continue our relief efforts for American farmers and families.”
“Across the country, I have seen firsthand how the Trump Administration is fueling millions of American families through the Farmers to Families Food Box Program,” said Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump. “President Trump’s commitment to extend this impactful program is ensuring healthy and nutritious produce, dairy and meat will continue to reach our Nation’s most vulnerable communities while supporting our farmers!”
According to the Department, the third round of the program was announced on July 24 and President Trump announced on Aug. 24, that up to an additional $1 billion was being made available for deliveries through Oct. 31. It said it announced contracts for the third round on Sept. 17 and has purchased over $2.981 billion worth of food.
The USDA said in the second round, which began on July 1, it purchased over $1.763 billion of food through extended contracts of vendors from the first round of the program. It said it also issued new contracts focused on opportunity zones in order to direct food to reach underserved areas.
According to the USDA, the first round of purchases started on May 15 and ended on June 30 and saw over 35.5 million boxes delivered in its first 45 days.
The USDA said it has also provided over $3 billion in food and administrative funds to food banks through the Emergency Food Assistance Program, providing 100% of domestic USDA food to families in need.
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