On Monday, Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and senior advisor, joined White House advisor Pastor Paula White in passing out food boxes to needy families at the D.C. Dream Center in the Washington D.C. area.
In a statement to The Daily Citizen, Ivanka said, “Millions of families across this country are benefitting from the Farmers to Families Food Box program, with nearly 40 million boxes of fresh, locally sourced produce, meat and dairy delivered so far. I am excited to witness first-hand the good work of faith-based and non-profit organizations in the District to help propel our shared mission of feeding those most in need.”
The Farmers to Families Food Box program is part of the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Coronavirus Food Assistance Program and designed to help families in need by purchasing and distributing agriculture products that would otherwise go to waste during the shutdowns.
On its website, the USDA stated, “Through this program, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is partnering with national, regional and local distributors, whose workforces have 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 from American producers of all sizes. The program will supply food boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, meat products and a combination box of fresh produce, dairy or meat products. Distributors will package these products into family-sized boxes, then transport them to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other non-profits serving Americans in need.”
Pastor Paula White, advisor to President Donald Trump, accompanied the First Daughter to the distribution and shared about the experience in an interview with The Daily Citizen. White said, “It was an amazing day, we went to the D.C. Dream Center, which is in the heart of the northeast D.C. A very hard-hit area, and the D.C. Center does tremendous work. It has been a relief and such an answer to people’s prayers and needs as so many are facing food insecurity at this time.”
For Ivanka, it was an opportunity to participate in a program that is close to her heart. White shared, “It was great to see her there in the sweltering sun for hours just loving it with such joy, serving people and getting to know and see the community. Hearing the stories and hear about how Farmers to Families is making a difference in their lives.”
The USDA estimates that roughly 14.3 million families were food insecure before the pandemic, and no doubt that number has risen dramatically as providers in the home have lost jobs or had their wages cut due to COVID. This Farmers to Families program is a lifeline that can provide them with quality, life-sustaining food.
“Prior to Farmers to Families, the administrator of the D.C. Center shared that most donations of food were close to expiring, but today families received fresh produce, dairy and meat,” White said. “Often people will go to bed hungry or have to choose between an electric bill and food. In the seven weeks since the program started, the D.C. Center has received over 44,000 pounds of food or 500 boxes. I just wish you were there seeing the smiles and hearing what people had to say.”
It’s not just the families that are in need, but the farmers, suppliers, and transporters have also been impacted by the stay-at-home orders and the closing of restaurants and other businesses.
“This Farmers to Families program has helped distressed farmers, helped suppliers and business owners,” White said. “One of the suppliers shared about how his family had a business for 39 years, and when COVID hit they would’ve have lost absolutely everything. Then the program came about and provided a lifeline.”
The faith community also plays a large role in the distribution process, with much of the food going through food banks, community, and faith-based organizations.
“I can’t say how many people asked for prayer,” White said. “One father was telling us about how his son has COVID and didn’t know if he was going to make it. Faith leaders bring such hope and healing and such peace and presence. It’s not only a wonderful program when it comes to food distribution, it’s also about care and compassion and meeting real human needs.”
Throughout the distribution, it also allowed the community to see a different side of Ivanka, who is often maligned by the media due to her close relationship with her father. White said, “They were so mesmerized by her love, compassion, tenderness and authenticity. She is a true champion. A champion of change, a champion of policy, a champion for caring. She shown like a bright star today, and that is truly who she is.”
Kiesha, a local resident and community advocate, said, “I am so grateful, and thankful, for Ivanka Trump coming here with everyone today to partner with D.C. Dream Center, that has been awesome to get food out into the community.”
At this time, Farmers for Families will continue to provide food to various communities and supporting farmers and suppliers through August 31.
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