The USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program’s Round 5 has been extended into May, with final deliveries occurring by May 31.
Christopher Purdy, Associate Deputy Administrator, Commodity Procurement Program at USDA confirmed the news May 4.
USDA says the program, which was previously scheduled to end April 30, has distributed more than 155 million boxes or about 125,000 truckloads to needy Americans so far.
The program will now sunset at the end of May.
USDA posted on its website a letter to stakeholders thanking those who worked with the agency through the food box program:
The Farmers to Families Food Box program was designed and implemented as a temporary, emergency relief effort to respond to severe market disruption caused by a global pandemic. The environment today is much different than when this program was created at the beginning of the pandemic. The condition of our economy has continued to improve since the start of the year.
Thanks to investments by Congress, food insecure Americans now have greater access to a more robust, expanded federal nutrition safety net including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT), school and summer meals for children, The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), and commodity purchases for food banks—which are working in concert to reach those in need.
Recently, USDA began to offer a fresh produce box on a temporary basis through TEFAP, provided in response to a demand for more fresh produce from food banks and their clients.
This produce box is not intended to replace the Farmers to Families Food Box but is an example of USDA applying lessons learned from the Farmers to Families Food Box experience to inform future activities.