Congresswoman Stacy E. Plaskett Urges U.S. Department of Agriculture to Provide Equitable Consideration to the Virgin Islands in the Farmers to Families Food Box Program
Congresswoman Stacey E. Plaskett released the following statement in regards to a letter sent from her office to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regarding the Farmers to Families Food Box program:
"The recently announced USDA Farmers to Families Food Box program is meant to deliver perishable goods to families in need. Under the current structure of the Request for Proposal (RFP), I am concerned that the Virgin Islands will not receive equitable treatment. I have written to the USDA asking them to alter the RFP in a fashion that recognizes preexisting relationships within the region and geographic proximity.
"As closures and social distancing orders meant to limit spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) extend across the country, the impact is being felt in communities large and small - like the Virgin Islands. While changes taking place are disrupting the lives of nearly everyone in some way, food-insecure individuals -- who numbered over 37 million (11.5%), including over 11 million children, in 2018 -- will face particular challenges, and the number of people who experience food insecurity is likely already increasing.
"In order for this program to make a meaningful impact in the Virgin Islands, the USDA must swiftly make the necessary changes and effectively communicate the update to stakeholders. I look forward to working with the USDA to ensure that Virgin Islanders are not left behind due to relying on states who are unfamiliar with the challenges of shipping perishable goods to the territory."