ROLLA, Mo. (Nov. 5, 2018) – One hundred and seventy-two pounds of non-perishable food was recently donated to food pantries to help people in need, thanks to the efforts of employees with USDA Forest Service, Mark Twain National Forest.
In October, USDA concluded its Feds Feed Families (FFF) campaign, which encouraged employees to organize local food drives to benefit communities across the nation. Feds Feed Families was created to help food banks and pantries stay stocked during summer months when they traditionally see a decrease in donations at the same time as an increase in need. USDA started this yearly summer collection in 2009, and since then has collected and donated over 80 million pounds of food to local communities across the United States. This year the initiative ran from July 15th to October 18th and the Poplar Bluff and Eleven Point Ranger Districts on the Mark Twain National Forest took up the challenge.
At the conclusion of Mark Twain National Forest’s food drive, the Poplar Bluff District Office had collected 85 pounds of donations and the Eleven Point office had collected 87 pounds of donations.
“It is really rewarding to help my community in this way,” stated Noel Ellerbe, Resource Assistant at Poplar Bluff Ranger District. She continued, “At times, growing up, my family depended on donations like this for assistance; so it’s great to be able to give back through the FFF Food Drive!”
Employees of Mark Twain National Forest partnered with Kroger and the Walmart Neighborhood Market to place signs in the stores to help spread the word in the community about the food drive. The employees then worked with long-standing food banks in the area, Lean On Me Food Pantry and The Bread Shed, to distribute the items collected.
Lean On Me Food Pantry, located in Doniphan, Missouri, serves the residents of Ripley County. They distribute food twice a month from the First Church of God in Doniphan; and, through the generous support of Ripley County residents, they have assisted families in this area for fifteen years.
The Bread Shed has served communities in Butler, Ripley and Carter counties in Missouri since 2010. Each month they provide food for about 300 families in each county. Their programs include a weekly meal prepared and served by volunteers to an average of150 individuals, and they work with the local schools to get groceries to families in need.
This effort clearly aligns with USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue’s charge for the agency to do right and feed everyone.