HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - McCann Memorial Temple is participating in the distribution of food boxes from the USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box Program.
The group will be handing out food boxes every Thursday from 12:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. The boxes are filled with fresh food, vegetables and milk through the end June.
As part of the Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced on April 17 that the USDA is exercising authority under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to purchase and distribute agricultural products to those in need.
Through this program, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service is partnering with national, regional and local suppliers, whose workforce has been significantly impacted by the closure of restaurants, hotels and other food service businesses, to purchase up to $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy and meat products.
The program will purchase $461 million in fresh fruits and vegetables, $317 million in a variety of dairy products, $258 million in meat products and $175 million in a combination box of fresh produce, dairy or meat products.
Suppliers will package the products totaling $1.2 billion into family-sized boxes, then transport them to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other non-profits serving Americans in need from May 15 through June 30, 2020. AMS may elect to extend the period of performance of the contracts, via option periods, dependent upon the program’s success and available remaining funds, up to $3 billion.
Mississippi suppliers have received $10.2 million to prepare the boxes for the state and deliver them to non-profit or faith-based organizations.
Pastor John M. Creagh says the food is a vital need in all Pine Belt communities.
“You know, the Bible says it’s more blessed to give than receive, and I just thank God that we are givers," Creagh said. "This church is being blessed. Why? Because we’re givers. I’m glad that we’re able to help out and be a blessing to the families in this area, it doesn’t matter, race, color, creed. Whoever you are, you are welcome to come by here and get a box for your car.”
The church is located at 1420 Kinnard Street in Hattiesburg and the city is also providing face masks and hand sanitizer for the volunteers to hand out.