Special delivery: Program helps both farmers, hungry

Published 2:44 pm Tuesday, September 1, 2020

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The COVID-19 pandemic has affected Americans’ lives in many ways, but a recent government program has helped to solve two problems with one solution.

The “Farmers to Families Food Box” program is administered through the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. It provides boxes of food, such as produce and dairy products, to citizens who are in need — especially those who have to lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the elderly and sick.

However, this program is different from just a typical food drive. The food itself is produced by America’s farmers, who sell it to the government to redistribute. These farmers have had their incomes hampered by COVID as well, since the grocery stores and other merchants that normally purchase the produce are not as active as they used to be.

Locally, several volunteers are helping to make the program work.

Joel Miller of Bogalusa is a member of the Community Action Organization. The Rev. Elder Vincent Price is the pastor of Love Outreach Family Worship Church, which is one of the locations where the USDA delivers the food boxes for the program.

Price is unable to distribute the food boxes to homebound seniors, nursing homes and other locations, and so Miller and other volunteers work to deliver them to those who need them.

“We want to make sure that everybody has something to eat and no one goes without,” Price said.

Price said that his church receives regular deliveries — typically about two trucks a week. He noted that the program is a “win-win” because it not only helps those who need to eat the food, but also the farmers who need to sell the food.

“It’s been a good program since COVID started,” he said. “The farmers are still producing their crops, but they don’t have as many people buying them as before.”

Price said that he hopes the church can find a partner with a forklift and pallet jack that will allow the church to more quickly unload the food from the trucks.

Anyone who may be interested in helping with the program can call Price at 985-294-4587, or email him at qualitycareministry@yahoo.com.

Resthaven Living Center employees Broderick Fields and Ursula Crumedy receive boxes of food from the “Farmers to Families Food Box” program last Thursday. Community volunteer Joel Miller delivered the packages.

Joel Miller shows off some of the food in a box.