The USDA Food Program and the Impact of the Pandemic on Food Insecurity

Usda Food Program

Millions of American families across the country are struggling with food insecurity due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Marvell Foods is proud to announce we’re helping to significantly support the USDA Food Program (Farmers to Families Food Box Program – FFFB) by serving as an official Subcontractor/ Supplier/Distributor to many BOA Winners/Awardees. In this capacity, Marvell Foods has facilitated the production and delivery of hundreds of truckloads of food – proteins, cheese, and other crucial ingredients, incorporated into these food boxes delivered to families struggling with this incredible spike in Food Insecurity in the nation.  

The socio-economic effects of Covid-19 include both employment insecurity and income insecurity—both of which have made it increasingly difficult for Americans to put food on the table. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 6.7% of all Americans are unemployed as of January 2021. Some of the hardest-hit industries include leisure, hospitality, and private education.

Food insecurity goes hand in hand with unemployment. Currently, 40% of Americans are experiencing food
insecurity for the first time
due to the pandemic. Of that amount, roughly half say that they are struggling to afford food, and 37% say that they are skipping meals so that their children can eat.

Pandemic food insecurity by the numbers:

  • 1 in 6 Americans—50 million in total—are currently projected to be food insecure, up from 35 million before the pandemic
  • Of the people experiencing food insecurity in the country, 17 million are children

Source: Feeding America

Food Banks in Crisis

Communities have always required safety nets for individuals and families facing food insecurity. Food banks fill in much of that need on a grassroots level. However, they too have taken a hit from the pandemic, with issues that include shortages of donations and volunteers, as well as other disruptions to their operational model—even as more and more people find themselves in need of their services.

In states like Texas and South Florida, food bank workers have been worried for months about the end of the CARES Act program, which provided millions of dollars’ worth of support to food banks every month, which expired on December 31st. And, in early October 2020, Feeding America—the nation’s most extensive domestic hunger-relief program—estimated an impending deficit of 10 billion pounds of food between then and June 2021.

The need for solutions has never been greater. There are, however, several programs stepping up to the plate. These include federal nutrition programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a significant defense line against food insecurity, particularly in this unprecedented time of need. Another program offering assistance is the USDA Food Program, which Marvell Foods is proud to be supporting through food donations.

About the USDA Food Distribution Program

It takes a village to feed a village. And, among the federal initiatives making the most significant impact right now are USDA food distribution programs, which include a network of on-the-ground efforts lending support where it’s needed.

One way that the USDA commodity food distribution program is helping fill in the gaps is by facilitating partnerships between food suppliers and food banks. As one of the nation’s largest food brokers, we’ve joined up with the USDA to supply food to millions of Americans through numerous food bank organizations across the country.

In particular, we’re working with our extensive network of farmers, ranchers, food processors, and others to ensure that families can access food during this tenuous time. Marvell Foods is proud to be part of the solution during this time of crisis, ensuring that the USDA Food Program remains stocked so that families can get the food they need to feed struggling families. To date, the Farmers to Families Food Box Program that we’ve helped support has allowed the USDA to distribute more than 132 million food boxes to those facing food insecurity. Now, during Round Five of the Program, Marvell Foods continues to work closely with BOA Holders, manufacturers, and distributors to help deliver the critical proteins that are included in the box – beef and chicken products, cheese, and other ingredients. 

Learn more about the Farmers to Families Food Box Program and our efforts to support the USDA’s extraordinary work to combat food insecurity.

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