Farmers to Families at the West Texas Food Bank
The following is an article by Texas Rep. Mike Conaway (TX-11).
This week, I had the opportunity to work alongside the folks at the West Texas Food Bank distributing 251 boxes of food to families in need. These boxes are the result of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Farmers to Families Food Box program, one of the coronavirus aid programs included in the CARES Act, which Congress passed and President Trump signed into law in March of this year.
The program is mutually beneficial to both farmers and families struggling from the effects of COVID-19, because it allows the USDA to purchase fresh produce, dairy, and meat from farmers whose food distribution systems have been impacted by coronavirus closures, then package those items in family-sized boxes and send them to food banks around the nation where they are passed out to those in need.
It was humbling to see the direct impact of this program through the faces of the families coming through the food line, many of whom have never had to rely on government assistance to feed their families before. In fact, almost 40% of the people the West Texas Food Bank (WTFB) is currently serving have never needed assistance from a state or federal program before COVID-19, and WTFB has gone from providing 560,000 pounds of food per month to 1.2 million pounds per month during the pandemic.
Food banks all across the country, in partnership with the USDA's Farmer to Families program, are providing critical relief to folks who are fighting to make ends meet and otherwise may have gone hungry. To date, the Farmers to Families program has distributed over 50 million boxes and counting.
I am grateful for the hardworking servants, like Libby Campbell and her team at the West Texas Food Bank, who work relentlessly every day to keep our people fed, and I will continue to support this initiative and others like it in any way I can.