Every summer since 2009, the Feds Feed Families campaign has collected items for food banks nationwide.
The campaign asks federal workers across every department to donate perishable produce and non-perishable cans for food banks and other food programs.
Not counting August’s contributions, government employees have collected about 1.65 million pounds of food this summer, short of the campaign’s 2 million-pound goal.
The drive covers three months, from June to August. The U.S. Deparment of Agriculture is the usual frontrunner in the competition. It led all agencies last year, supplying about a quarter of the entire 1.7 million-pound amount, and through June this year.
But its nearly 400,000 pounds fell to second place when July’s numbers were announced. The Department of Defense jumped to a strong lead, with about 620,000 pounds, all but 12,000 coming in July.
The USDA is a strong force, despite being designated a “large” agency, compared to three “X-large” departments like Defense. The USDA still crushes the other two extra large organizations: Homeland Security donated 140,000 pounds and Veterans Affairs donated 14,000.
Katie Yocum, rural development northeast region coordinator for the USDA, wrote in the agency’s blog that the USDA has a goal of collecting 500,000 pounds of food this year.
The Social Security Administration has donated 21,000 pounds, largest in the medium category. And the “small” guys are putting up big numbers. The Department of Energy leads the division with nearly 90,000 pounds. Four small agencies have larger donations than every medium-sized agency.
The campaign website has a blog, discussing some of the larger single donations. Craig Trefney, maritime enforcement special senior chief of the U.S. Coast Guard, donated 260 pounds of food. Grace Lopez, who works in the Houston office of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, donated 350 pounds. And Rita Franklin, Department of Energy deputy chief human capital officer, brought in more than 1,000 pounds.
Yocum wrote in the USDA blog that state executive director of the Farm Service Agency, Charles Cawley, and his daughter spent four hours picking sweet corn. They donated more than 2,200 pounds of it to the Maryland Food Bank for the campaign.