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Mobile Markets – Farmers to Families

Mt. Vernon, IL, Thursday, March 4, 2021: Mt. Vernon, IL –The Mobile Markets Farmers to Families food distribution events have been a success. In collaboration with the United Way of South Central Illinois, U of I Extension, Rotary Club of Mt. Vernon, SSM Health and Cusumano & Son’s the region has received more than 1,000,000 pounds of food to local community members. To date, nearly 20 communities and thousands of families have been served during the COVID-19 pandemic, with an additional two locations within South Central Illinois on the upcoming schedule.

Upcoming locations and dates include:

  • Grayville – March 11
  • Corinthian Baptist Church – March 13
  • Wayne City – April 10

The counties of Bond, Clinton, Hamilton, Jefferson, Franklin, Wayne, White, Washington, Marion, Edwards and Wabash have been served since the induction of the program.  Each community has an event host that truly makes the program run smoothly.  Thank you so much to our hosts from the past month: Salem Community Activities, City of Centralia, Nashville FFA, City of Mt. Vernon, City of Fairfield, Senior Services of Hamilton & White Counties, Benton Fire Department, Roadhouse Harley-Davidson, Hope Center of Albion, Lunch Wagon, Wayne City Baptist Church, Wabash Valley FS, Enfield Christian Church, Dahlgren Baptist Church and Bluford Grade School. The community volunteers from each location are a true blessing.

For more information on upcoming distributions, contact United Way of South Central Illinois at (618) 242-8000.

Farmers to Families Food Program

As part of the Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program, it was announced on April 17 that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) would be exercising authority under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to purchase and distribute agricultural products to those in need.

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) partnered 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 to be distributed for those seeking help.

According to Nat Wellen, Executive Director for United Way of South Central Illinois, the program helps producers, food distributors and families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This project is designed to help provide relief to the food supply chain devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Wellen said. “This initiative provides relief to farmers and distributors who lost demand for their food products. It provides relief to food banks and other nonprofits by making sure the products are made available already packed in boxes, which reduces the number of volunteers needed to work each event.”

The federal 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 nationally.

Suppliers will package these products totaling $1.2 billion into family-sized boxes, then transport them to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other nonprofits serving Americans in need.

At the food distribution events, families received a 30-pound box of fresh produce, dairy and meat containing items such as apples, oranges, carrots, onions, potatoes, milk, cheese and chicken. Depending on inventory of food boxes, regional distributors and local availability, the food box contents may vary from location to location.

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