Farmers to Families food boxes were distributed to millions of U.S. families to help them through the pandemic. One of Colorado’s groups that delivered the packages decided to remove the president’s letter before sending out the boxes, after having a meltdown over the inclusion of a message.
As part of the Farmers to Families program, the United States Department of Agriculture purchases fresh produce, dairy, and meat products from American producers and then supplies food boxes to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other nonprofits serving Americans in need.
The Denver Community Food Access Coalition gave an excuse for their actions, complaining President Trump’s letter placed in each of the food boxes had misleading information, as reported by BizPacReview.
The executive director of the Denver Food Rescue argued, “Politicizing the one lifeline Colorado families have left during this health pandemic and economic crisis by putting these letters in food boxes is shameful and degrading.”
“In my 30 years of doing this work, I’ve never seen something this egregious,” Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Food Banks, said earlier this month, according to Politico. “These are federally purchased boxes.”
“We are a nonpartisan organization,” Greg Trotter, a spokesman for the Greater Chicago Food Depository, complained. “While the content of the letter is not overtly political, we think it’s inappropriate to include a letter from any political candidate just weeks from an election,” reported BizPacReview.
“There are real questions as to whether food assistance organizations can ethically distribute such a message with an election looming in mere weeks,” an Oregon food bank CEO, Susannah Morgan, said after the organization decided not to even participate in the program allegedly because of the letters.
President Trump’s letter offered information on safety procedures during the pandemic, and reassurances to civilians, with the suggestion to “consider wearing a face covering when in public.”
The Denver Community Food Access Coalition started removing the letters; their objection was supposedly over Trump telling people to “consider” wearing a mask while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “recommend” that everyone does.
The Trump administration first included the letter to families in July. “The vast reach of our Farmers to Families Food Box program affords us the opportunity to bring nutritious, locally sourced fruit, vegetables, meat, and dairy to families in need and also reinforces CDC guidelines and best practices to safeguard the health and well-being of Americans from COVID-19 [CCP Virus], especially in our nation’s most vulnerable, underserved communities,” said White House adviser Ivanka Trump, who had come up with the idea of including the letter.
The letter, obtained by Fox News, from President Trump says, “As our country reopens, I urge all Americans to continue to adhere to the important precautions set forth in the President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America and by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding how to best protect yourself and your family.”
“As President, safeguarding the health and well-being of our citizens is one of my highest priorities,” the letter began, going on to note how the president “prioritized sending nutritious food …” says the letter.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, supported the idea of the food boxes including health information.
“I support and applaud the innovative use of the Farmers to Families Food Box program to deliver essential public health messages related to COVID-19,” he said. “In addition to benefiting from fresh produce, dairy and meat products, Americans in need also are receiving essential information about how to protect themselves and others from COVID-19.”
Fauci added, “These measures include avoiding crowds, maintaining physical distance (6 feet), covering your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others, and washing your hands often.”
Farmers to Families food boxes had surpassed 100 million at the beginning of October. “It is incredible to think that in a little more than five months, this food box program has grown from an idea to a reality that has provided more than 100 million boxes of nutritious foods to people in need and along the way has helped to keep farmers and ranchers in business and allowed Americans working in our nation’s food supply chain to get back to work,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.