NIEHS staff and contractors donated more than 3,360 lbs. of food and other necessary items in the 2018 Feds Feed Families campaign, surpassing totals in each of the past two years.
“We collected 800 pounds on our final curbside collection August 29th,” said campaign co-chair Monya Brace, from the NIEHS Office of Management. “It is a joy to see this generosity, and many families will have healthier meals as a result.”
This is the eighth year of the NIEHS partnership with the Durham Rescue Mission and the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. Both groups donate the goods to area families in need.
Edith Lee and Pinkney Wilder co-chaired the drive with Brace. Lee, from the Clinical Research Branch, is president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 2923. Wilder, from the Signal Transduction Laboratory, represents the Raleigh-Durham Area Chapter of Blacks In Government.
Local drive supports national effort
Feds Feed Families reports that from 2009, when the program launched, through 2017, federal workers provided more than 80 million pounds of food and other nonperishable items across the country.
Food items collected this summer included canned goods, cereal, peanut butter, juice, bottled water, dry rice, beans, pasta, and healthy snacks. Among the important nonfood items were diapers, wipes, cleaning supplies, paper towels, shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, and other hygiene products.
“It’s a powerful feeling, to look at all the food and other things we load into the trucks and think about the children, their parents and caregivers, and other individuals that will have food on the table because of this,” said Lee.
National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., set a goal of 32,000 pounds, or 16 tons, for the entire organization. “Food insecurity affected 19 percent of American households at some point during 2016,” said Collins when he launched the NIH-wide campaign. “This means people lacked access to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members.”
The mission of NIEHS is to promote healthier lives by discovering how the environment affects people. “We know the importance of a healthy diet,” said NIEHS Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D. “The volunteers who organized the drive and contributed to it are taking that mission in hand and making a difference today in the lives of hundreds of people.”