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The Energy Department Feeds Families

August 13, 2015 - 2:35pm

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Oak Ridge Integrated Support Center employees Josh Clark (from left), Steve Martin, Katelynn Prutsman, Tom Rizzi and Hailey Beeler gave employees ice cream from a make-shift "ice cream truck" in exchange for non-perishable items. They even dressed the part! | Photo courtesy of Oak Ridge Integrated Support Center.

Oak Ridge Integrated Support Center employees Josh Clark (from left), Steve Martin, Katelynn Prutsman, Tom Rizzi and Hailey Beeler gave employees ice cream from a make-shift "ice cream truck" in exchange for non-perishable items. They even dressed the part! | Photo courtesy of Oak Ridge Integrated Support Center.

At the Department of Energy, we talk a lot about fuel. Whether it’s collecting solar power, finding cleaner ways of burning fossil fuels or using nuclear power sources, fueling America is one of our major focuses.

But as we focus on keeping the lights on and the computers running, there is another, more basic type of fuel that Americans need: food.

One in five American children struggles with hunger on a daily basis. Nearly 160 million people in our country don’t know where their next meal will come from, or whether they will eat at all. And hunger happens every day, to people of all ages, races and creeds.

That’s why the Energy Department is partnering with USDA for the seventh annual Feds Feed Families campaign. Since the campaign began in 2009, federal workers have donated and collected more than 39 million pounds of food and other non-perishable items to support families across America. The goal is to keep food banks and pantries stocked all summer long -- when children are not receiving food at school and donations are low.

Last year, the Energy Department collected over 345,000 pounds of food -- beating our goal of 225,000 by over 100,000 pounds! This year, our goal is to meet or beat 345,000.

And we’re on our way. Not only are donation boxes throughout our offices starting to fill up with non-perishable food items, but -- back by popular demand -- volunteers have the opportunity to help pick remaining fruits and vegetables from local farms. This process, known as “gleaning,” clears produce that would otherwise be plowed under after commercial harvests are complete, and delivers it directly to local food banks for immediate use. Last year, Energy Department employee Tyesha Bennett and her family recently gleaned 4,400 pounds of sweet potatoes from Cheltenham Warehouse in Maryland -- meaning more fresh, healthy food for local families in need.

In the past, employees have also organized “baseball” drives -- in which offices score runs for each 400 pounds of food they collect -- or donated virtually by sending food from their favorite retailers directly to the food bank of their choice. And as you can see in the photo above, employees at one of our national labs are already coming up with new creative ways to collect cans and other not-perishables.

This year, the Energy Department program is being led by Chair Tony Nguyen and Co-Champions Jeff Anoka & Rauland Sharp. Energy Department employees can also find more information on the Feds Feed Families Powerpedia page or by emailing DOEFeedsFamilies@hq.doe.gov.

The Feds Feed Families campaign runs through October 2. 

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