Nancy Roman, the Capital Area Food Bank’s president and CEO, welcomed U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Under Secretary of Agriculture Ed Avalos and U.S. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton to the food bank for the June 11th kick-off of the fifth annual Feds Feed Families food drive.
More than 60 representatives from federal agencies gathered in the food bank’s Marriott Volunteer Center to jump-start the national food drive, which encourages federal employees throughout the U.S. to collect non-perishable food during the summer and donate it to local food banks at the end of August.
Secretary Vilsack emphasized his concern that 17 million children are going hungry nationwide, especially during the summer when they don’t have access to reduced school breakfast and lunch programs. Referring to the competition among all of the federal agencies, he challenged the Department of Defense to beat the USDA this year!
Roman reminded the audience that five years ago President Obama signed the Serve America Act and created “United We Serve,” calling on all Americans to contribute to the nation’s economic recovery by serving in their communities. She also emphasized the Capital Area Food Bank’s commitment to providing nutritious food to those in the community served by the food bank.
U.S. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who has supported the Feds Feed Families every year, said, “There is nothing worse than a hungry child, because a child can’t understand hunger.” She continued that many people in the region will be thankful for the food received from the Feds Feed Families food drive.
The food bank’s dietician Jodi Balis discussed the preparation of a healthy and affordable meal and talked about the food bank’s emphasis on nutritious fruits and vegetables.
The program concluded with Doug Keeler, National Feds Feed Families Program Manager, “firing up” the audience to feed families in need and setting a goal to collect 26 million pounds of food this year.
Formerly sponsored by the Office of Personnel Management, this year’s Feds Feed Families is sponsored by the USDA. Feds Feed Families is one of the food bank’s most successful and largest food drives and, last year, received 600,000 pounds of food, which is equivalent of 462,000 meals.