The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on Oct. 23 the authorization of $500 million for a fourth round of purchases for the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program and is issuing solicitations to existing Basic Ordering Agreement.
Contracts are expected to be awarded by Oct. 30 for food box deliveries through the holidays.
In the fourth round, as was the case in round three, states are being allocated boxes based on their individual needs, and the program continues to include purchases of combo boxes that contain fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy products/fluid milk and meat products – good news all the way around.
In addition, the program also will continue to require proposals to show how coverage will be given to areas identified as “opportunity zones.” Detailed subcontract agreements and explanations of delivery of the boxes to the right hands are also required.
Entities meeting USDA requirements and specifications will receive agreements and will then submit pricing through a competitive acquisition process. Payments to distributors under the Farmers to Families Food Box Program are only made upon the submission of an invoice documenting evidence of delivery and adherence to contractual requirements.
Since it was established by the USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program in April, Farmers to Families has distributed over 110 million boxes of food worth $2.98 billion.
Round one saw 35.7 million food boxes invoiced between May 15 and June 30. That was eclipsed by round two, when 50.6 million food boxes invoiced were invoiced between July 1 and Aug. 31. An extension of round two had an additional 15.1 million food boxes invoiced between Sept. 1 and Sept. 18, and from Sept. 22 and the end of October another 8.6 million food boxes were invoiced.
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service partners with national, regional and local distributors, whose workforces have been impacted by the COVID-19 closure of restaurants, hotels and other foodservice businesses. Distributors package food products into family-sized boxes, then transport them to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other non-profits serving Americans in need.
USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue commented on the ongoing program, saying, “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.”
He added, “I’m very pleased that we are able to extend this program and continue our relief efforts for American farmers and families.”
And Ivanka Trump, Advisor to President Donald J. Trump, said, “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. 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!”
More information on the program can be found on the Farmers to Families Food Box Program page.