USD 373 meal program adding ’Farmers to Families’

Chad Frey
The Newton USD 373 drive up lunch program started giving a box of fruits and vegetables in addition to sack lunches and breakfasts to program participants on Monday, part of the USDA Farmers to Families program.

A new program called Farmers to Families is partnering with farmers, ranchers, specialty crop producers, food processors and distributors and non-profit organizations to distribute fresh produce to families — and the program is coming to Newton.

The USDA program has begun sending boxes to Newton USD 373 to be distributed by the summer lunch program for the month of June.

As part of this program, Newton USD 373 has received boxes of various fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and dairy products to hand out with the drive up meals this summer. Contents vary per box.

A sample box on Monday contained potatoes, apples, pears, carrots, celery, oranges and lettuce.

One box per car will be provided in addition to Monday meals. Provided deliveries are on schedule, food boxes will be distributed each Monday through the month of June.

Through this program, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service is partnering with national, regional and local suppliers whose workforce has been significantly impacted by the closure of restaurants, hotels and other food service businesses, to purchase up to $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy and meat products.

The program will purchase $461 million in fresh fruits and vegetables, $317 million in a variety of dairy products, $258 million in meat products and $175 million in a combination box of fresh produce, dairy or meat products. Suppliers will package these products totaling $1.2 billion into family-sized boxes, then transport them to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other non-profits serving Americans in need through June 30.

The USD 373 meal pick up is Monday and Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The locations are Newton High School, Northridge, Slate Creek, South Breeze and Walton.