40th Anniversary of USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service

40th Anniversary of USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service

November 11, 2019 5 By William Morgan


We have a second program
where, with other volunteers that
are on five days a week.
Where we send drivers out.
Boy, when you go in these
houses, it is just amazing.
You may be the only thing going
into the cupboard.
I remember one time
I took an order over,
and I’m not usually a driver
but we just had so many
orders on that day.
And, it was a family and
they were sleeping on
towels on the floor.
There is not a stick of
furniture in the house.
There was a young girl about
this high and then a young boy
that was in high school and the
mother,
who had just gotten out of the
hospital.
And they had just gotten their
first section eight housing.
So, I brought the groceries in
and I asked the little girl
if she wanted to help me.
She takes the jar of USDA peanut
butter out and proceeded to
dance around the room singing to
this jar of peanut butter.
When I was putting some
cheese and some eggs,
because we always
to to give eggs,
into the refridgerator, we were
just talking about nothing.
Absolute nothing.
And it really makes you
feel how truly needed the
USDA and all the food that is
volunteered by members of
the community and the
congregations and
the Boy Scouts.
I mean, just dire need.
We don’t even appreciate it.
I live in a world that doesn’t
even begin to contemplate
what it must be like to not be
able to feed my child dinner.
NARRATOR: America is
the land of plenty.
Yet in this land of plenty not
everyone gets enough to eat.
RONALD:
After I had to stop work,
it was just rough.
We didn’t have much.
The refrigerator
was almost bare.
SUSAN: Kids do behave
differently when
they are hungry.
They are agitated,
their stomach is hurting,
they are frustrated.
They are looking at their
parents as, “where is my food?”
CLAUDIA: I think I
was concerned.
I was pretty young, and I was
not working at that time.
So I was concerned as to
how I was to feed the baby,
and if I was going to have
enough to feed myself also.
NARRATOR: Although it
remains a challenge, hunger
in America is less of a problem
today than it was in the past.
Thanks in large part to
nutrition assistance programs
administered by the Food
and Nutrition Service, FNS,
an agency of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture,
and its partners in communities
all across America.
RONALD: I would
really be lost now
because it’s been three years
of going through this.
Without the program I
might be homeless.
LATRICE: People are coming in
here not because
they want to,
they need food to
feed their children
and feed themselves.
Since I’ve been coming here
I’ve been taking my
nutrition more seriously.
In the beginning I ate
fatty foods but
now it’s like every
food I’m cooking
I’m putting in vegetables,
and then every morning
I have breakfast.
It seems like small things
but when you do it daily
it’s really help me a lot.
We not only nourish the
children for today
by providing them good healthy
meals but hopefully we
give them the opportunity to
learn and develop healthy eating
habits that will last a
lifetime.
NARRATOR: Established in 1969
to administer several food
assistance programs, FNS has
kept pace with the changing
situations and needs of
low-income Americans.
Today, through its partnerships
with State agencies and
retailers, and the
efforts of schools,
faith-based and
neighborhood organizations,
local governments, and Congress,
FNS is reaching more Americans
in need than ever before.
Its fifteen programs form a
nutrition safety net that
improves the diets and lives
of tens of millions of
American children, seniors,
families, and disaster victims.
FNS’s largest program, SNAP,
formerly the Food Stamp Program
illustrates how the agency’s
efforts have grown and evolved.
Stamps and coupons have been
replaced by more convenient and
confidential EBT debit cards.
The emphasis is on healthy
foods and nutrition education.
And every $5 in new SNAP
benefits generates over $9 in
total economic activity, both
within local communities
and well beyond.
FORSTINA: There’s nothing to
be ashamed of.
I’d rather have my children
being fed than to
hear their stomachs
growling all the time.
I can buy whole week of
groceries, carrots, beets,
tomatoes corn, at the
farmers market and really
save a lot of money.
ROBERT: I look at food as fuel,
so if I am not properly
nourished I will not be able to
function at 100 percent.
So that’s how I see
this program helping me.
NARRATOR: WIC, the Special
Supplemental Nutrition Program
for Women, Infants and Children,
serves almost half of all
infants and about a quarter of
all children up to five years
old in the United States.
Not only does WIC provide
food assistance and essential
education, but by
preventing low birth weights and
nutrition-related birth defects,
it saves taxpayers millions of
dollars in health care costs.
CLAUDIA: I
think WIC is a nice program.
It gives you different ideas on
different things and foods you
can cook for your children.
VANESSA: When I went to go
apply it actually did help.
When I opened up my refrigerator
it didn’t look as empty as it
did before.
So yeah, it is really helpful.
My self esteem became a
little higher
because of the WIC workers and
they explained everything to me.
NARRATOR: By nourishing young
bodies and minds and teaching
healthful habits, FNS’s
school-based programs give all
children a greater
opportunity to learn,
thrive and succeed.
CAMILLE: This is a program
where we have at risk children,
and I have seen several
children who come through
my program, even this year,
who really needed the meals.
They come in and eat and eat and
eat, and I let them do that
because they really need it.
They are getting a good meal,
and that makes me feel good
I know we’re doing
the right thing.
ROBIN: It’s a real privilege
to teach these children
nutrition everyday and see them
coming through the breakfast
and lunch lines saying,
“Ms. Robin, I ate my fresh
fruit, I ate my vegetables.”
“I ate my fresh fruit”
That’s really rewarding.
NARRATOR: Obesity in America
has increased dramatically,
especially among children.
FNS and its partners are
working to reverse this trend by
educating families and
children about healthy eating,
making smart food choices, and
maintaining an active lifestyle.
CHRIS: The most important
thing about teaching the kids
is getting to live an
active lifestyles.
Not only in our PE and
education classroom but
when they are outside
the classroom.
They walk throughout
the school
most get a mile to
two miles a day.
Those who do walk
are more alert in class and test
scores are higher.
SUTHERS: We love contributing
to the health of
our nation’s children.
NARRATOR: In addition to
assisting individuals and
families, FNS sponsors programs
that provide food to senior
citizens, Indian
reservations, food banks,
food pantries,
and soup kitchens.
And when disaster strikes, FNS
supplies emergency food that
helps save lives.
JEAN MOORE: A major portion
of what we do, I would say,
40 – 50 percent of our
core food is coming
from USDA.
For example last month we
got from USDA, thank heaven,
chicken, three pound bags
of frozen blue berries.
Things that I am usually not
able to get my hands on.
I was absolutely wonderful.
This makes a big difference
coming here getting food because
my freezer and
refrigerator was bare.
That I appreciate it so much.
CASE WORKER: It’s
customer service.
If I can kind of put a smile on
someone’s face towards the end
of the day then
that’s pretty good for me.
NARRATOR: For forty years,
wherever there has been hunger
USDA’s Food and Nutrition
Service has been there —
improving lives and helping
to ensure a healthy future for
children and families.
The dedicated civil servants of
FNS thank their many partners
for making these
programs a success.
Much as been acheived
and we look forward to
doing even more together,
as we invite everyone in this
great country to join us.