Commissary patrons help drive Feds Feed Families support

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FORT LEE, Va. — Last year was a banner year for the Feds Feed Families campaign. The Defense Department collected more than 3.2 million pounds of food and personal hygiene items for donation to local food banks and pantries. Commissary employees and their patrons contributed almost 50 percent or a whopping 1.6 million pounds of DOD’s total.

“Our customers are the main driver behind the donations,” said Randy Eller, Defense Commissary Agency logistics deputy director. “Their contributions have increased our total 66 percent from 2014.”

The Feds Feed Families campaign, which runs June through Aug. 31 this year, was created as a part of President Obama’s United We Serve campaign in 2009. The program was started to help food banks stay stocked throughout the summer, when they typically see fewer donations and increased demand. Through the program, almost 57.2 million pounds of food and other items have been donated by federal employees from all across the federal government.

This year commissary employees and patrons are pulling together again to collect donations of much needed nonperishable food and personal hygiene items. Pre-packed donation bags, which can be purchased in store and placed in collection bins when entering or leaving, are available. Customers may also bring items from home to donate.

Donated items are picked up by the installations and delivered to local food banks or pantries.

The most-needed items for donations include:

– Canned vegetables – low sodium, no salt.

– Canned fruits – in light syrup or its own juices.

– Canned proteins – tuna, salmon, chicken, peanut butter and beans.

– Soups – beef stew, chili, chicken noodle, turkey or rice.

– Condiments – tomato-based sauces, light soy sauce, ketchup, mustard, salad dressing or oils.

– Snacks – individually packed snacks, crackers, trail mix, dried fruit, granola and cereal bars, pretzels and sandwich crackers.

– Multigrain cereal.

– 100 percent juice – all sizes, including juice boxes.

– Grains – brown and white rice, oatmeal, bulgar, quinoa, couscous, pasta, and macaroni and cheese.

– Paper products and household items – paper towels, napkins and cleaning supplies.

– Hygiene items – diapers, deodorants (men and women), feminine products, toilet paper, tissues, soap, toothpaste and shampoo.

There have been no official goals set but, with the help of commissary employees and generous patrons, Eller thinks last years’ numbers can be beat.

“Let’s all give our full support to this fantastic program which feeds thousands of hungry families across the United States, and work to have our best totals ever,” he said.

For more information on the Feds Feed Families campaign, please visit the United States Department of Agriculture website at http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=feds-feed-families.