Federal agencies will start collecting food nationwide underÂ the Feds Feed Families program this week, the Office of Personnel Management said. Canned and other unperishable food items will be picked up the last Friday in June, July and August, but agencies will put out cardboardÂ collection bins a few days earlier, OPM Director John Berry and Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., saidÂ at a press conference at a Northern Virginia food pantry.
OPM itself already has filled theÂ 10 cardboard bins it has at the entrance to its Washington headquarters three times over, Berry said. The government hopes to collect 1 million pounds of food by the end of summer.
OPM launched the food drive because food banks often run low during the summer months, when people are often on vacation and forget to donate. Also, low-income children who are on summer vacation don’t get school lunches or breakfasts and could go hungry, Berry said:
So right when parents need the most help and they turn to the community food banks, unfortunately many of those shelves are getting thin, because the demands in our economic times are tough. […] Federal employees know how blessed they are. They’ve got good jobs, they’re respected by their nation. This is an opportunity for them to give back to their communities and I know they’re going to step up to this plate.
And Berry said OPM is cooking up a contest to see which agency can donate the most pounds ofÂ food per employee, thoughÂ he hasn’t yet settled on aÂ prize.
OPM plans to track how much food has been donated at theÂ drive’s officialÂ Web site,Â www.fedsfeedfamilies.gov.