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Commissaries support Feds Feed Families

FORT LEE, Va. -- Commissaries in the United States have joined with other government agencies and organizations to support the 2011 Feds Feed Families food drive campaign, which runs through Aug. 31. Customers who visit their military store will see marked bins near commissary entrances or exits, where they can donate nonperishable food and daily hygiene items.

Defense Commissary Agency facilities are working with their installation commands to be drop-off points for food donations from commissary customers, employees and other government workers that will go to assist charitable organizations such as the base chapel, installation food locker or local food bank. The food drive is coordinated by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and the Chief Human Capital Council to encourage federal employees to help supplement food banks across the country.

"DeCA is proud to partner with others in our military communities to help support the children and families who are hardest hit by our tough economy," said Joseph H. Jeu, DeCA director and CEO. "Food banks across the nation are struggling to replace the items people depend on to survive, especially during summer months when donations are traditionally lower."

Last year, the food campaign set a goal of raising 1.2 million pounds of food and other essential goods - they eclipsed that by receiving 1.7 million pounds in donations. This year, organizers have raised the bar for a goal of reaching 2 million pounds.

The most-needed items for donation include:
· Canned vegetables - low sodium, no salt
· Canned fruits - in light syrup or its own juices
· Canned proteins - tuna, salmon, chicken, peanut butter and beans
· Soups - beef stew, chili, chicken noodle, turkey or rice
· Condiments - tomato-based sauces, light soy sauce, ketchup, mustard, salad dressing or oils
· Snacks - individually packed snacks, crackers, trail mix, dried fruit, granola and cereal bars, pretzels and sandwich crackers
· Multigrain cereal
· 100 percent juice - all sizes, including juice boxes
· Grains - brown and white rice, oatmeal, bulgar, quinoa, couscous, pasta and macaroni and cheese
· Paper products and household items - paper towels, napkins, cleaning supplies
· Hygiene items - diapers, deodorants (men and women), feminine products, toilet paper, tissues, soap, toothpaste and shampoo

The Feds Feed Families campaign grew out of the Serve America Act that created "United We Serve," an initiative that urged Americans to contribute to the nation's economic recovery by helping their communities.

A commissary's participation in this campaign is tied to its local installation's ability to provide the support necessary to pick up and deliver the donated items.

"We hope many installations will be participating in the program and will provide the assistance DeCA needs to facilitate these donations," said Randy Eller, chief of DeCA's grocery/specialty division. "DeCA's workforce and our customers have the potential to make a huge difference in the fight against hunger in the nation through voluntary donations."

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