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Vilsack kicks off 'Feds Feed Families' nationwide food drive

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack kicked off the Fifth Annual Feds Feed Families Campaign at the Capital Area Food Bank.

The food drive is an annual event in which federal employees in the Washington metropolitan area and around the country collect food for distribution by food banks and shelters. In the past four years, federal government employees around the country have donated more than 15 million pounds of food through the Feds Feed Families campaign.

“Federal employees are tremendously dedicated to their communities, so it’s no surprise to me that the Feds Feed Families food drive has been so successful over the past four years,” Vilsack said. “I’m confident that this year, employees here in Washington and in offices across the country will step up once again to help those in need.”

Vilsack was joined for the announcement by Agriculture Undersecretary Ed Avalos, Agricultural Marketing Service Administrator Anne Alonzo, U.S. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton and Nancy E. Roman, chief executive officer of the Capital Area Food Bank.

The Feds Feed Families program started in 2009 and has been managed on an annual basis by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. This year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will lead the effort in collaboration with managers from agencies across the government. The 2013 food drive officially began on June 1 and will run through Aug. 28.

Federal agencies across the country participate in the campaign and federal employees are asked to donate non-perishable food items throughout the summer. As in previous years, donations made in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area go to food banks in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia through a partnership with the Capital Area Food Bank. Other donations go to food banks across the country—having a positive impact to help food banks address food insecurity. Vilsack noted that the latest USDA estimates show that in 2011, food insecurity impacted 14.9 percent of American households at some point.

“No matter where you live, there are folks in your community who are working hard, but having trouble putting food on their plate,” Vilsack said. “This is a very real problem that federal employees in small towns and big cities across the country are ready to help address.”

USDA has designated Doug Keeler of its Agriculture Marketing Service as the Feds Feeds Families national program manager. Keeler will manage the campaign with the support of the Chief Human Capital Officers Council and other agency partners.

Date: 7/8/2013

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