USDA offers few yardsticks for measuring its food-box program

For USDA, the most important number in its food-box giveaway program is how many boxes are donated — 18.4 million as of Friday, according to a tally on the homepage of the agency that runs the program. Officials declined to provide other details, such as the average cost of the boxes or how long the $3-billion initiative will be in operation.(No paywall)

Survey: Unrelenting food insecurity during pandemic

One in five US households say they often or sometimes run out of food, a persistently elevated level of food insecurity as the nation faces its fourth month of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Covid Impact Survey. "Despite some public benefits in place, this is still very high," said Nick Hart, president of the Data Foundation, which launched the survey.(No paywall)

Perdue joins coronavirus task force

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, chosen by President Trump to oversee the reopening of meat plants, is now a member of the White House coronavirus task force, "which is focused on getting Americans back to work and allowing businesses to reopen," said the White House. The appointment was announced a few hours after Perdue and presidential adviser Ivanka Trump visited a produce warehouse in the Washington suburbs that is part of the Farmers to Families Food Box on Friday.(No paywall)

Overcoming shame, Americans ask food banks for help

Two of every five people visiting food banks "never had to ask for help for food" before — a gauge of the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, said the chief operating officer of Feeding America. Katie Fitzgerald said food banks are facing, on average, a 70 percent increase in demand. (No paywall)

USDA food boxes for charity called ‘inefficient’

The "farmers to families food box," a $3 billion part of the Trump administration's coronavirus relief package, may not be an efficient use of taxpayer dollars although it is aimed at two vexing issues during the pandemic – crops with no buyers and food banks overwhelmed by demand, said a panel of analysts on Monday.

Farmers to Families Food Box will move from ‘truck to trunk’

The first deliveries of the USDA's Farmers to Families Food Box, a coronavirus relief initiative to move surplus commodities to food banks from U.S. farms, are expected in mid-May, said Agricultural Marketing Service officials on Wednesday. (No paywall)

Key senator defends decisions on nutrition spending

Congress increased funding significantly for public nutrition programs in the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package, said the chairman of the Senate subcommittee in charge of USDA spending on Monday. Congress has come under criticism for unfairly funding food programs in favor of farmers.

Hunger relief will come in the form of the ‘harvest box’

The government will spend $300 million a month to buy fresh produce, dairy and meat products that will be packaged into a box for food banks and other charities to give to hungry Americans, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. Some $3 billion will be spent on purchases of surplus foods for donation in an initiative that resembles the "America's Harvest Box" idea promoted by Perdue for delivering a portion of SNAP benefits.(No paywall)

North Carolina food bank scrambles to feed the hungry

Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina distributed 82 million pounds of food last year, but this year it's scrambling to find the food and volunteers to deliver food directly to people in need, many of them seniors, Barry Yeoman writes in FERN's latest story. (No paywall)