WASHINGTON, Oct. 21, 2014 – Defense Department and other federal employees nationwide met and exceeded goals to answer the call and assist food-insecure households through this year’s “Feds Feed Families” food drive, the Pentagon’s team lead for the drive said.
Howard Ferguson said in a DoD News interview Oct. 17 that the voluntary campaign brought donations from federal employees and local farmers’ markets in excess of 3,188,075 pounds of food items to needy families from June 1 to Sept. 30.
“The previous total in 2012 yielded more than a million pounds, and 2013 brought in more than 1.9 million pounds of food,” Ferguson said. Ferguson explained food banks and pantries across the nation distribute the food to their partnering organizations, and he noted that 1 in 6 employed households struggle to get their next meal.
“A lot of folks associate hunger with poverty,” Ferguson said. “Although there’s a connection, there’s a lot of working people that are still hungry and don’t know where their next meal is coming from.”
‘Participate and make a difference’
Ferguson said he is proud to have coined the mantra “Participate and make a difference” for the food drive. “It’s not a number associated with it; it’s an effort,” he said. “So whether that is a can of food or 200 cans of food, just participate and make a difference — I’m glad we have a workforce across the federal government that cares about those who are food-insecure.”
Ferguson noted that understanding the impact of hunger instills the motivation to help.
“Giving is alive and well,” Ferguson said, noting that each year, DoD has expanded its engagement across the workforce. “Bottom line: we care as a department and as a federal workforce,” he said. “I think we’re willing to answer the call and help our fellow citizens.”
Ferguson said the interest in giving overcomes budget or socio-economic status. “It’s one of those easy things to sell and promote and get people involved.”
DoD has been involved in the campaign since 2009. The Agriculture Department led the effort at the national level for all federal agencies in 2013 and 2014.
“More than 50 federal agencies have participated throughout the civilian and military workforce,” Ferguson said. “It’s just been amazing, the generosity that has come forth. Every year, it’s been getting better and better.”