With about week left in the campaign, the NCUA had already quadrupled last year’s Feds Feed Families food drive results, collecting more than 8,000 pounds of food as of Aug. 20.
“That’s almost the weight of two Ford F-150 pickups,” said NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz. “Several managers agreed to match staff donations by as much as four to one, and the result will go a long way toward helping families in the Washington metro area.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, since the campaign began in 2009, federal workers have donated and collected 15.2 million pounds of food and other non-perishable items to support families across America.
Doug Keeler, the program’s 2013 director and an Agriculture Department employee, said he hopes to surpass the overall 2012 total of 7.2 million pounds of food received last year.
“Despite furloughs, despite pay freezes, despite everything else that is going on,” Keller said, “federal employees are still filling up the plate.”
The USDA said in a release the donations help feed the 17 million children who go hungry nationwide according to the, especially during the summer when they don’t have access to reduced school breakfast and lunch programs.
Donations made in the Washington area, including non-perishable items collected by the NCUA, will go to the Capital Area Food Bank. Feds Feed Families is one of the food bank’s most successful and largest food drives, said Page Dahl Crosland director, media and events of the Capital Area Food Bank. Last year it collected 600,000 pounds of food for the food bank, which is equivalent of 462,000 meals.
“I am so excited that the NCUA has collected so much food for us,” she said. “We are so impressed and are touched that they have gone above and beyond for us.”
Last year the NCUA collected more than a ton of non-perishable food for the program.
“(The) NCUA has a hard-working and generous staff that also has a healthy competitive streak,” Matz said. “Food banks have had trouble keeping up with people’s needs, and our staff has responded.”
According to Dahl Crosland, many of the food bank’s 700 partner agencies report they are seeing a tremendous increase in those seeking food assistance, with increases reported from 30% to 100%. The increase is due to job losses and the economy, the high cost of housing, lack of health care and other issues, she said.
“People can go hungry overnight,” she said. “You can lose a job and find yourself without food. Our job is to feed everyone who might need something to eat.”
The NCUA’s contribution will aid not only children, but families.
“We don’t have any requirements to get food from us,” Dahl Crosland said. “If you are hungry we will help you.”
The Feds Feed Families food drive ends Aug. 28.