An additional $1 billion in funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers to Families Food Box Program was announced by the White House on Monday.
The program originally authorized $3 billion for the boxes and was expected to spend a total of $2.67 billion between mid-May and the end of August.
According to the USDA, 35.6 million food boxes were distributed between May 15 and June 30 in the program’s first round, and 35.1 million food boxes were distributed from July 1 to Aug. 24 in the second round, which ends Aug. 31. The third round of the program begins Sept. 1 and ends Oct. 31.
The boxes of fresh produce, dairy products and meat have gone to more than 10,000 food banks and nonprofit organizations.
“Consumers and farmers are bearing the economic impacts related to continued COVID-19 mitigation measures,” said Tony Banks, senior assistant director of agriculture, development and innovation for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. “There remains a strong need for food assistance for citizens who are vulnerable or who have lost their livelihoods. The $1 billion extension of the food box program is a true win-win for both people in need and farmers.”