WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 1, 2021) Since the United States Department of Agriculture Farmers to Families Food Box Program launched in May 2020, the Faith-Based Community for Farmers to Families, facilitated by CityServe, has distributed over 17.3 million food boxes to families living in the “Last Mile of Need.” Food box deliveries by churches and faith-based organizations have accounted for approximately 10% of the program’s 13-month distribution and have proven to be an effective model for taking needed food deep into food insecure communities.

“We have had many families overwhelmed because they had no other resources. One family kissed the food and asked if the children could eat it immediately because they had nothing for a few days,” said Cassandra Sheppard, King Jesus Ministry International. “A lady driving a Mercedes came up embarrassed because she had never been in any public assistance line. When she received the food, she cried uncontrollably.”

“Out of our little church in Blue Eye, Missouri we were able to bless our surrounding community with over 40,000 boxes of food through this program,” said Jeff Burkhart, Bowman Old Time Pentecostal Church.

Utilizing its previously implemented supply chain model, CityServe extended its network at the launch of the Farmers to Families to include additional churches and organizations.

The Faith-Based Community for Farmer to Families distributed the following:

  • 17,389,947 food boxes
  • 486,918,796 lbs of food
  • 405,765,663 meals
  • $813,154,389 gifts-in-kind

Zach Derstine, President, Derstine’s Inc, commented, “We have received many phone calls from recipients in tears thanking us for supplying nourishment to starving Americans from West Virginia to New Jersey.”

“Thanks to the Farmers to Families program, we were not only able to keep employees working, we were able to hire more who needed the income during such difficult times,” said Jorge Vazquez, President, Freedom Fresh. “It was great to not only see the positive impact of the food boxes themselves but the impact on our suppliers whose businesses were so severely impacted.”

How it Works

USDA-approved food supply contractors coordinate with CityServe to deliver food boxes to HUBs. A HUB is a church or faith-based nonprofit with the capacity to be the distribution center of food boxes to local churches, also known as PODs (point of distribution), in its geographical region. A POD is a local church coordinating with CityServe to receive food boxes from its assigned HUB and meet the needs of its neighborhood with compassionate giving and relationship building. Local churches have a unique ability to deliver food to the “Last Mile of Need” because they are in close relationship with their neighbors and most aware of the needs and specific circumstances in their community. They look out for the unseen, forgotten, and left behind.

“Farmers to Families has shown how the local church can quickly and effectively respond to needy families living in the “Last Mile of Need,” said Dave Donaldson, CityServe co-founder and chairman.

Initially launched in May 2020, the Farmers to Families program was “designed and implemented as a temporary, emergency relief effort to respond to severe market disruption caused by a global pandemic,” as stated on the USDA website. The program has purchased 173,699,775 food boxes for individuals and families impacted the most by the global pandemic. The program came to a close on May 31, 2021.

To learn more about how the Faith-Based Community for Farmers to Families has delivered food through the “Last Mile of Need” through the pandemic, please visit www.cityserve.us.

About CityServe

CityServe is a collaborative network of churches and community leaders connected to help those in need to live better lives. CityServe empowers the local church to fulfill its purpose to overcome despair and transform lives by resourcing them with tangible goods and capacity building. CityServe brings the church to the table to address community challenges by offering long-lasting relationships that lead to transformation and has been designated a “Community of Faith and Opportunity” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information about CityServe and its initiatives, please visit https://cityserve.us or on social platforms @cityservehq.