Gillibrand, colleagues demand answers from Trump administration on food box program

Up to the Minute

From the office of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, joined committee members in pushing the Trump administration for greater transparency on the Farmers to Families Food Box Program. Recent reports have raised significant concern over the program’s ability to connect the food boxes to food banks and feed hungry Americans who have had trouble accessing food due to the COVID-19 crisis. In a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Perdue, Gillibrand raised concern that a number of the suppliers awarded USDA contracts to purchase and distribute the food boxes lack the basic infrastructure and licenses required to meet demands, and that the program itselflacks accountability.

“The Farmers to Families Food Box Program has so far failed to live up to expectations. Unfortunately, some of the organizations awarded contracts have no experience in food distribution or prior relationships with food banks, who know their regions needs best,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Secretary Perdue must address the glaring gaps and inefficiencies in this program so that it can adequately address the unprecedented strain on our food supply. I will always fight for New Yorkers facing food insecurity and to support our struggling farmers.”

As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Senator Gillibrand has worked to protect farmers and reinforce the nation’s food supply, especially throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Last month, Senator Gillibrand introduced the Food Bank Access to Farm Fresh Produce Act, which would address disruptions in the food supply chain caused by the coronavirus pandemic and directly connect farms to food banks by providing $8 billion in block grants to food banks in the top vegetable and fruit producing states to purchase crops directly from farmers.

The full text of the letter can be found here

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