The sixth annual Feds Feed Families campaign is now underway for the summer after a kick-off event on Monday.
The theme of this year is to “Help Knock Out Hunger.” Through the campaign, federal employees across the country can donate non-perishable food items in donation bins at their agencies. Food banks, pantries and shelters then distribute the collected goods to families in need.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack spoke at the kick-off event, along with Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) and officials from the Capital Area Food Bank, Defense Department and Environmental Protection Agency.
“The spirit of service runs deep across the federal government. Feds Feed Families offers another opportunity to give back to our communities and serve our neighbors in need,” Vilsack said in a statement.
Feds Feed Families started when Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) and former Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry realized that food donations were dropping during the summer months because many families were on vacation.
To encourage donations, the campaign has run every summer since 2009. Feds have donated a total of 24 million pounds of food and other non-perishables over the past five years.
The summer of 2013 broke records for the campaign, with nearly 9 million pounds of goods donated, up from 7.2 million in 2012.
Federal employees “want to help fix America. They’ve always been committed to it,” said Doug Keeler, the 2013 national program manager for Feds Feed Families. “And that’s why with sequestration, with furloughs, with all that’s going on, with the government shutdown, federal employees were still giving.”
The campaign hopes to set another record in 2014.
“I am proud to serve alongside such generous individuals, and I am confident that we will step up once again this year,” Vilsack said.
Feds Feed Families will accept donations through Aug. 27.