BAKERSFIELD, CA. — In May, the USDA launched a program that would connect local farmers with people facing food insecurity throughout the pandemic.
The Farmers to Families Food Box Program is part of the Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program to purchase and distribute agricultural product to those in need.
“This whole pandemic, this whole situation, has brought a lot of need in our community," said Carlos Baldovinos, Executive Director of The Mission at Kern County. "Unemployment numbers, homeless numbers... Imagine those families barely making that threshold, they have food insecurity. It’s going to help them.”
The food boxes are supplied by local farmer, Rich Chicks LLC, who say they jumped at the opportunity to be part of the initiative and personally contacted The Mission at Kern County.
"The urgency was of course food production doesn’t stop and there were people in need immediately” said Neil Kinny, Rich Chicks LLC.
The program has allowed farming companies to continue working and keep their employees.
“Our business came to a halt," said Kinny. "We are primarily in schools and overnight schools ended and it was a chance to keep all those people and give job security because this program will run through the end of the year if you perform."
The program paid 1.2 Billion toward poultry, dairy, vegetables and fruit to provide food boxes to those in need across the country.
“You can’t turn a cow off and all of a sudden there were trucks and trucks of milk with no place to send it, schools being one place, but other food service operators were not taking milk, so literally dairy farmers were dumping truckloads of milk into the field," said Kinny.
The Mission at Kern County will provide these food boxes every Wednesday in the month of June from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
“Families that could sustain themselves before are not in the position to anymore. I think were going to be surprised the families out there that need the help. I don’t want to see anyone go hungry," said Baldovinos.