Hunger Relief: Be a Link in the Farm-to-Family Network

June 4, 2020

To paraphrase Jesus, The harvest is plentiful, more laborers are needed! While Jesus spoke about the crowds of people who gathered, “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd,” this news is about the actual harvest of produce, along with meat and dairy products. The connection between his metaphor and the present need is that we are called, moved by compassion, to make a difference in the lives of others. Society of St. Andrew, a mission partner focused on eliminating hunger through education and service, is participating in a coronavirus related hunger relief effort. Because of the coronavirus, massive disruptions to the U.S. food distribution network resulted in food left to rot in fields and milk dumped because there was no way to store it. Farmers faced loss of income at the same time that the need for food assistance increased sharply, straining community food banks. As related industries quickly adapted, the United States Department of Agriculture created the Farmers to Families Food Box Program. Distributors acquire the food – meat, dairy, and produce – from farmers and package it into family-sized boxes. They deliver these boxes to non-profits for distribution to families with need. This is where the church comes in! Congregations are needed to receive truckloads of milk, produce, or both, for same day, drive by “truck to trunk” contactless distribution. The deliveries are state specific – see below for that information. Farmers have been paid full market price for their goods. Delivery expenses are covered. Congregations need to provide the time and effort of volunteers and possibly the rental of a forklift or pallet jack. Society of St. Andrew staff are available to answer questions, talk you through what receiving a delivery looks like, and enable you to become an important link in this new supply chain bringing food from the harvest to hungry people in your community.

Finally, please note that quick action is important: current availability is through June 30. An extension through the end of the summer is likely, and possibly through the end of the year. Loads can be delivered with just 2-3 days notice. For more information and to become an important link in this chain of assistance, contact Wade Mays, Society of St. Andrew, at development@endhunger.org or 434-610-7323.

Dairy boxes are available in: Produce boxes are available in:
  • Texas
  • Mississippi
  • Arkansas
  • Kentucky
  • Tennessee
  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Louisiana
  • Missouri
  • Indiana
  • Illinois
  • Ohio
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Iowa
  • Indiana
  • Illinois
  • Ohio
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Wisconsin

 

The content of boxes may change. As of this writing, dairy boxes consist of 2 gallons of milk per box, with 2,500 boxes per truckload. Produce boxes contain a 10 lb bag of potatoes and a 5 lb bag of onions, with 1,200 boxes per truckload. Please do not let the size of these deliveries deter you. Society of St. Andrew can walk you through the process from receiving to distributing this gift to your neighbors. By connecting with others, such as local food banks and ministerial alliances, you will be amazed at how quickly the boxes will be distributed.

If you are able to assist, please share your story with us. You can email Brenda Tyler at btyler@dhm.disciples.org.

Thanks for Serving!