Fresh produce and meat products are going to be distributed through Daystar Church next week as part of the CARES Act. Through the USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box program, families will be able to get boxes of food that farmers otherwise would not have been able to distribute thanks to the COVID-19 national emergency.
During this crisis, farmers have not been able to distribute the food they produce for restaurants and bulk purchasers. In order to keep the food from going to waste, the USDA purchased $4 billion in products to be distributed in family-sized boxes through food banks, faith organizations and other non-profits.
Daystar Church has been selected as the local distribution site for the food. The church will be distributing food directly to people and also to community partners.
“We will be partnering with several community agencies and churches around Cullman, Decatur, Hartselle, Madison and Huntsville,” said Lead Pastor Jerry Lawson.
Other Cullman County organizations distributing food are Foundry Farm, Alabama Adult and Teen Challenge, Oasis Recovery Center, The Link of Cullman County, The Lighthouse, Restoring Women Outreach, Karmas and Cullman Caring for Kids. In Hartselle, Living Free, Mt. Tabor-Feeding Families, Milestones Recovery and Morgan County Caring Place are all partners as well.
Lawson emphasized that unlike other federal food programs, recipients don’t have to show eligibility.
“Everyone will be eligible to receive the food for free,” he said. “The issue here is that if we do not give this food away it will be thrown away. So this food is not just for families in need, it’s also for farmers to be able to sell their food and not have it wasted.”
Food will be distributed from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Pick up days are Wednesday, June 10 and Friday, June 12.
Lawson said they asked for a once-a-week delivery, but if the demand is there, they can get shipments more frequently. “If we move the merchandise, they’ll give us more of it,” he said.
Daystar was selected as a distribution center thanks to Lawson’s relationship with the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative. He’s been involved in several activities with the office and Todd Lamphere, chief of staff for the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative, reached out to Lawson because of his network of pastors around the country that he’s coached and trained.
Lawson said the Trump administration rely heavily on the faith community for a number of programs. “They do a lot of stuff through the faith office,” he said.
He said the Farmers to Families Food Box program is just another example of that. “It’s really one of the best things to come out of the CARES Act,” he said. “It’s not just throwing money at people and it’s a nationwide outreach through the faith community.”
He said using churches as a distribution channel just shows how essential churches are to the country. “I was excited to see the president say churches are essential,” said Lawson.
For more information contact the Daystar Church office at 256-737-0800.