As the summer season drew to a close this past Labor Day, many NIEHS staff wrapped up their participation in the 2021 Feds Feed Families campaign, a national effort among federal employees to raise food and monetary donations for needy Americans.
This year’s drive produced more than 7 million pounds of nonperishable food and personal hygiene products — 175,000 of which came directly from employees across the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Helping local families
“At the end of the day, our mission at NIEHS is to help people live healthier lives,” said NIEHS and National Toxicology Program Director Rick Woychik, Ph.D. “Feds Feed Families is a great way for our employees to help advance that cause in a real, tangible way that impacts families right here in our local community. My sincerest thanks go out to everyone who contributed.”
According to data from the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, more than 500,000 people in the group’s service area struggle to feed their families or obtain regular access to basic necessities such as medicine and housing.
This is particularly true during the summer months, when children are home from school without access to free breakfast and lunch.
Meeting an urgent need
“I’ve been on the other side of this equation, and I can tell you from firsthand experience that these donations change lives,” said NIEHS Program Coordinator Monya Brace, who co-led the campaign. “Being hungry is a horrible feeling that you never forget. That’s why programs like Feds Feed Families are so important. They cut past the red tape to meet that need head on.”
Brace’s co-coordinator, Edith Lee, agreed.
“As federal employees, it’s our responsibility to be a blessing to others in our community,” said Lee, a program specialist in the Division of Intramural Research. “Seven million pounds of food and hygiene products can go a long way in helping that cause, but it’s just a start. Being generous is something we should strive for every single day, drive or no drive.”
(Ian Thomas is a public affairs specialist with the NIEHS Office of Communications and Public Liaison, and a regular contributor to the Environmental Factor.)