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Senators Urge USDA to Strengthen Ability for Food Box Program to Reach All Families in Need

Washington, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Patty Murray (D-WA) and 23 of their colleagues sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting that $50 million in funding from the Farmers to Families Food Box program be allocated for delivery efforts to support seniors, immunocompromised individuals and families who lack access to reliable transportation in accessing the food they need. Allocating this funding would expedite relief for those in need and strengthen the effectiveness of the Farmers to Families Food Box program.

“We appreciate your efforts to stand up the Farmers to Families Food Box Initiative in order to address food insecurity and also to support farmers and agricultural markets at the same time. However, we are concerned about ‘last mile’ delivery. Unless we can ensure that the Farmers to Families Food Box Initiative is able to transport needed goods the final mile to families in need, it is likely that the program will not be able to live up to its full potential,” wrote the Senators.

The Senators continued, “Whether in the heartland, the south, or our coastal cities, the reality on the ground is that a serious gap exists in getting food boxes from pantries and food banks to at risk populations battling poor health, lack of mobility or limited means. With 1 in 5 Americans now food insecure, we believe a sense of urgency exists in identifying innovative approaches to last mile delivery.”

In addition to Senators Casey, Fischer and Murray, the letter was also signed by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), as well as Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Jeffrey A. Merkley (D-OR), Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Mike Braun (R-IN), Cory A. Booker (D-NJ), Martha McSally (R-AZ), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), James Lankford (R-OK), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Joni K. Ernst (R-IA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Michael F. Bennet (D-CO), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Tina Smith (D-MN), Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).

Read the letter to Secretary Perdue here.