Military customers and federal employees can donate nonperishable food and personal hygiene items to the campaign using marked bins located at the entries or exits of participating commissaries. Donations to the program help charitable organizations such as the local food bank.
This year, Defense Commissary Agency employees at the agency’s Fort Lee, Va., headquarters and at 180 commissaries in 46 states and Puerto Rico are collecting donations.
“This program is important to charitable organizations like food banks,” said DeCA Director and CEO Joseph H. Jeu. “It collects food items and other needed items that some families might not get otherwise. It’s a great way for employees and customers to give back to our communities.”
Last year, more than 660,000 pounds of items were donated at commissary locations. Over all, the combined total for all federal agencies was 7.2 million pounds during the 2012 campaign. Commissaries collected 30 percent of the DOD total. This year the campaign, which began June 1, runs through Aug. 31.
Once again, some commissaries will sell donation packages that allow customers to purchase a package and drop it in donation bins as they leave the store. Last year, commissaries sold more than 9,000 donation packages, totaling more than $83,000.
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, cleaning supplies
- Hygiene items – diapers, deodorants (men and women), feminine products, toilet paper, tissues, soap, toothpaste and shampoo
The Feds Feed Families food drive campaign grew out of the Serve America Act that created “United We Serve,” an initiative that urged Americans to contribute to the nation’s economic recovery by helping their communities. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Chief Human Capital Council are managing the campaign. Commissary participation is tied to its local installation’s ability to provide support to pick up and deliver the donated items.
“We not only serve the men and women of the military and their families,” Jeu said. “We also contribute to our surrounding communities.”