FEDS FEED FAMILIES: Commissaries lead record-breaking DOD donation effort to food banks
Pictured here at the Fort Lee Commissary in Virginia are prepackaged donation bags for Feds Feed Families. (Photo Credit: Kevin Robinson) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEE, Va. – The USDA’s annual Feds Feed Families (FFF) campaign, held June 1 through Sept. 31, has ended with 7.8 million pounds of food being donated to food banks across the nation.

Feds Feed Families encourages employees from across the federal government to donate to local food banks and pantries. This year marks the third that the Department of Defense (DOD) has designated the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) as its campaign leader.

“We’re honored to again lead the campaign and collaborate with our partners across the entire DOD,” said Randy Eller, DeCA’s director of logistics. “It really demonstrates the department’s commitment to helping people in need, as well as the generosity of commissary employees and patrons. This year’s campaign was successful because of teams working diligently across DOD and other federal agencies.”

This year, 7.8 million pounds of groceries were donated across all federal departments and agencies. Of that, DOD contributed 4.7 million pounds, or 60 percent, marking an increase of more than 27 percent from last year. DeCA’s share of the 4.7 million was 3.2 million pounds, or 68 percent, an increase of more than 33 percent from last year’s total.

Participating stateside military installations help collect items designated as “most needed” by food pantries. Commissary customers and employees in these communities have a couple of ways to participate: First, by purchasing needed food and personal hygiene products for donation while shopping at commissaries, or bringing items from home and placing them in donation bins at the store; and second, by purchasing prepackaged donation bags available in commissaries.

The estimated number of bags sold was 81,423 this year, totaling approximately $854,070 in groceries. DeCA’s total estimated dollar donation value for the 2022 FFF campaign is approximately $3.2 million.

Once collected, installation officials worked with the commissary to deliver the donations to local food banks.

The demand for donations has increased this year as more families across the U.S. struggle with high food costs. According to the USDA more than 34 million people, including 9 million children, are food insecure in the United States. Many households that experience food insecurity don’t qualify for federal nutrition programs and visit their local food banks and other food programs for extra support.

“The annual Feds Feed Families food drive is a great way for commissaries and military families to give back to the communities that host us around the nation,” said Marine Sgt. Maj. Michael R. Saucedo, senior enlisted advisor to DeCA’s director. “The summer months typically see food bank donations fall, so it’s the perfect time to set aside a few items to donate. This year especially, a little really goes a long way.”

In Hawaii, authorized patrons have four commissaries they can shop at:

  • Hickam
  • Marine Corps Base Hawaii Kaneohe
  • Pearl Harbor (at the NEX)
  • Schofield Barracks

About DeCA: The Defense Commissary Agency operates a worldwide chain of commissaries providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families in a safe and secure shopping environment. Commissaries provide a military benefit, saving authorized patrons thousands of dollars annually on their purchases compared to similar products at commercial retailers. The discounted prices include a 5-percent surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones. A core military family support element, and a valued part of military pay and benefits, commissaries contribute to family readiness, enhance the quality of life for America’s military and their families, and help recruit and retain the best and brightest men and women to serve their country.