RENO, Nev., August 27, 2010 – Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today joined employees from six USDA agencies at an event highlighting the Feds, Farmers and Friends Feed Families Food Drive, the national federal employee food drive initiative. Merrigan participated in the donation of 800 pounds of food to a rural food bank. Merrigan also highlighted how the Consolidated Agencies of Human Service was able to purchase a 4-wheel drive refrigerated food truck due to a $33,052 Rural Development grant awarded last year through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act).
"The Recovery Act is helping people and communities throughout the country, and whether it involves putting food on the table or putting Americans to work, this has made a big difference in the lives of countless American families," said Merrigan. "This is an historic opportunity to lay a new foundation for economic growth, create jobs and build and revitalize critical infrastructure in rural communities across the country."
Merrigan was joined by the Nevada state leaders of Rural Development, the Farm Service Agency, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service as part of the Obama Administration's 'Recovery Summer' events. Food from USDA agencies was picked up in the refrigerated food truck operated by Consolidated Agencies of Human Service (CAHS) of Hawthorne. The food banks serves eight communities spread across more than 7,000 square miles of west central Nevada. USDA has been participating throughout the summer in the Feds, Farmers, and Friends Feed Families federal employee food drive.
In 2009, a similar Recovery Act award was made to the Boys & Girls Club of Mason Valley in Lyon County, Nev. The Boys and Girls Club received a $46,846 Community Facilities grant to purchase a refrigerated truck to pick up dry commodities, along with milk, meats, and fresh produce for the Food Bank at the Club which serves low income individuals and families. The Club, which is the largest youth serving organization in this community of 3,000, provides snacks every day after school, and breakfast and lunch to all youth during school breaks and summer vacation. In addition, they maintain an emergency food bank for those who are in extreme need.
For both trucks, the Recovery Act-funded Community Facilities grants were matched by grants from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, provided through the Food Bank of Northern Nevada.
Through the Recovery Act, USDA Rural Development received $1.57 billion for Community Programs to provide loans and grants for projects to develop essential community facilities for public use in rural areas. This may include hospitals, fire protection, public safety, libraries, schools, day care centers as well as many other community-based initiatives.
More information about USDA's Recovery Act efforts is available at www.usda.gov/recovery. More information about the Federal government's efforts on the Recovery Act is available at www.recovery.gov.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages more than 40 housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of 6,100 employees located in 500 national, state and local offices. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $142 billion in loans and loan guarantees.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).