By Jessie Wagoner
For weeks the USD 418 food services department has been distributing produce and dairy boxes to community members as part of the Farm to Family program through the USDA. The service will continue with help from the City of McPherson.
Distributing between five and seven semi trucks full of food is a large undertaking. Food services staff and volunteers have made the program available to the community but they needed additional help. Bill Froese, director of transportation and food service reached out to the city for assistance.
“It is quite a task,” Froese said. “We started out with one semi and now we are up to six. I think we will back off to five to make it more doable. The USDA has made it possible to go through August so we are definitely happy to have the city onboard to help us.”
Mayor Tom Brown advised the city will provide assistance with distributions, which will occur on Thursdays at the McPherson High School parking lot. McPherson Police Department officers will continue to provide traffic control in the area and the McPherson Fire Department will help with unloading the trucks and distributing boxes.
Community members have expressed their appreciation for the program. Each week community members can obtain a box of produce and dairy products free of charge.
“We love it,” Terran Corwen said. “Especially the produce boxes. It’s expensive to eat healthy and I normally wouldn’t buy this much produce at one time from the store so I enjoy having the variety at home to feed my family healthy meals. The volunteers do an awesome job of keeping the line moving so the wait isn’t ever as bad as it looks. Even if I had to wait two hours in line, it’s worth it.”
The program also benefits farmers and producers who have experienced a decline or market loss as a result of COVID-19. The USDA purchases their products and distributes it at no cost to families.
“Great program for farmers and individuals,” Jaime O’Dell said. “My friends have enjoyed the quality.”
The next distribution will be Thursday at the McPherson High School parking lot. Distributions will continue on Thursdays until August.