SIOUX CITY — The final USDA Farmers to Families Food Box program event in Sioux City distributed over 900 meals to individuals Thursday.
A steady flow of cars stopped at Sunnybrook Community Church, where volunteers loaded boxes of food and a gallon of milk into each vehicle, greeting each person with a smile and a little small talk.
The boxes were given to individuals, families, non-profits and churches. Sunnybrook's Hope Center pantry partnered with the Community Action Agency of Siouxland for the last such distribution in the metro area.
The Trump administration started the Farmers to Family Food Box program last year in the midst of the pandemic that increased the number of families struggling to find enough food to eat and disrupted production and distribution channels, which made it difficult for farmers to market their products,
The USDA is now winding down the program, which delivered nearly 167 million boxes of fresh food nationwide. Biden administration officials say the food box program was created as a temporary, emergency relief effort, and the agency will continue to help feed needy families through other existing programs.
Community Action Agency spokeswoman Kim Wilson said the agency helped organized three Farmers to Food Box events, which distributed more than 3,500 boxes filled with fresh produce, milk, dairy and cooked meats.
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"This has been such a challenging year and a half with the COVID pandemic and these events are just proof the challenging times continue," Wilson said. "This is a great way to help individuals and families that are still food insecure."
There are other places people in the community can find food relief. Wilson said the Community Action Agency has a food bank that is open five days a week. They also keep a list of all organizations in the area that offer food and supplies.
The Sunnybrook Hope Center distributes food from its community pantry twice a week, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays, and 6 to 8 p.m. Thursdays.