The USDA is the key to food aid, but may lack speed in a crisis | Instant News

In 2019, the USDA provided 1 billion pounds of food through its TEFAP program, with 3 billion pounds coming from donations by wholesalers, food retailers, farmers, producers, producers and direct purchases. The food bank also received $ 50 million from TEFAP to meet transportation and distribution costs, according to the organization’s 2019 annual report.

In Philabundance in Pennsylvania, a food bank that is part of Feeding America, program manager Hilary Stiebel said via email that the organization is largely dependent on purchasing its own food and on local donations such as from 200 merchants who send products or other goods in danger of going down the drain -drain. That food is enough to feed 90,000 people per week.

But he said COVID-19 had increased demand by 60 percent. The USDA, which has been making donations for years through programs designed to sustain agricultural prices, will become more important.

“The availability and access to the TEFAP program is now very important to meet demand,” Stiebel said, adding that Philabundance was preparing to receive donations from the USDA Box Farmers for Families Box program.

“We are actively meeting with other food banks throughout the Feeding America network and learning best practices, implementing new large-scale push through distribution, and working as a collaborative network when new information is available every day,” Stiebel said.

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