b'When restaurants and other food serviceBy the end of round two, over 50 million industries across the country closed or drasticallyfood boxes had been distributed, supporting changed business models, truckloads of freshAmerican farmers and families affected by the food became another casualty of Coronavirus inCOVID-19 pandemic. the United States. Farmers saw their crops, meat,On July 24, 2020, Secretary Perdue announced and dairy products going to waste while simulta- that the USDA would launch a third round of neously facing catastrophe for their livelihoods.purchases for the Farmers to Families Food Box In response, Secretary of Agriculture SonnyProgram, with distributions from September 1 to Perdue announced on April 17, 2020, that theOctober 31, 2020. These purchases will spend the USDA was exercising authority under the Fami- balance of $3 billion authorized for the program. lies First Coronavirus Response Act to purchaseThis third round of Farmers to Families Food and distribute agricultural products to those inBox Program purchases is a testament to the need through the Farmers to Families Food Boxgreat work done by vendors in support of Ameri-Program (F2F):can agriculture and the American people. It is also a testament that the program is accomplish-As part of the Coronavirus Food Assistanceing what we intendedsupporting U.S. farmers Program, the USDAs Agricultural Marketingand distributors and getting food to those who Service is partnering with national, regional,need it most, he said. and local distributors, whose workforces haveRescuing food, rescuing neighbors been significantly impacted by the closure ofW hen COVID hit the U.S., it drasti-restaurants, hotels, and other food servicecally hit farmers, with restaurants businesses, to purchase up to $3 billion inand schools being shut down. As fresh produce, dairy, and meat products froma result there was milk being dumped, crops being American producers of all sizes.plowed back into the ground, and animals being The program will supply food boxes of fresheuthanized. This program has helped with food fruits and vegetables, dairy products, meatrescueto bring food that was being wasted to products, and a combination box of freshfood-insecure homes across the U.S., said produce, dairy, or meat products. Distribu- Bethany Miller, the F2F ministry coordinator at tors will package these products into family-CityServe in Bakersfield, California.sized boxes, then transport them to foodAt the same time, the number of families banks, community and faith-based organiza- needing food increased significantly. With the tions, and other nonprofits servinginstant demand for more services to needy indi-Americans in need. The first round of pur- viduals and families, the F2F program provided chases, totaling up to $1.2 billion, occurredessential fruits and vegetables of great quality from May 15 through June 30, 2020. Thein boxes that helped minimize handling and second round aimed to purchase up to $1.47facilitate ease of distribution, Will Hernandez, billion July 1 through August 31, 2020.director of Valley Food Bank in Oxnard, Califor-USDA press releasenia, said. Bethany said that in just the first six weeks of the program, the Faith-Based 42 WWW.CITYGATENETWORK.ORG SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020'