The Capital Area Food Bank is deeply troubled by politicization of hunger inherent in the inclusion of a letter from the President of the United States in boxes of food being distributed to families via the USDA program.
Since May of 2020, the Capital Area Food Bank – along with hundreds of food banks across the country – has received and distributed food through the Farmers to Families Food Box (FFFB) program. The program is a US Department of Agriculture initiative that connects farmers and distributors with food banks to provide produce, dairy, and meat to people in need during this unprecedented time.
For the remainder of the program, the USDA is contractually requiring that all FFFB food boxes contain a letter from the White House, personally signed by the President of the United States.
With fewer than five weeks before a presidential election, we find the requirement to include this document within emergency food boxes deeply concerning. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, we are prohibited from advocating on behalf of any political party or candidate, and we do not want an effective, efficient program like FFFB to be used or misinterpreted as a form of political endorsement.
At a moment in history when food insecurity is growing rapidly and millions of families are uncertain where their next meal will come from, hunger – and the programs designed to alleviate it – should not be politicized.