Each year the United States Department of Agriculture leads Feds Feed Families, an annual government-wide food drive that encourages federal employees to donate food, services, and time to local food banks and pantries. While having reliable access to food is a year-round issue for many families, summertime can be the most critical as donations to food banks and pantries typically decline. Unfortunately, it is just as donations are dwindling that the need for food bank services increases. Many children who depend on government subsidized school meals frequently go hungry when schools close. Feds Feeds Families helps fill the gap during the summer and at other crucial times throughout the year.
This year in August the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) and the Bureau of Prisons at the National Corrections Academy in Aurora, Colorado, collected and distributed 1,200 pounds of food and $500 in cash to a local food bank.
“Yearly we reach out to serval food banks and local services to identify a need and then we donate,” says Michael Ward, Instructional Systems Specialist of Educational Development at NIC and local Feds Feed Families chair. “We typically do not donate to the same bank unless that bank has requested the need. This helps to spread the community involvement.”
NIC and BOP have donated an average of 700 to 1000 pounds of food plus cash each year for the past four years. This year, NIC is on track to exceed that average by 20-30%.
“It feels good to be part of a solution,” Ward says. “It feels good to give, and to see it take place locally. Giving is a heartfelt message expressed by federal employees through this program, and it is an honor and a privilege…to be part of it.”