Manna will be handing out boxes of food this afternoon outside the Cross Insurance Center to anyone in need.

Bill Rae of Manna reached out to me this morning to tell me about the latest chance for area residents in need to pick up some food. Manna is working with the USDA 'Farmers to Families' food box program, providing fresh food to people in need. This is not your typical macaroni-and-cheese food pantry fare, however.

Each box contains 12 pounds of fresh produce, 5 pounds of meat, and a gallon of milk. There's no criteria to receive one of these boxes, so nobody's going to ask you for your proof of income, etc. Manna has 1,100 boxes to hand out, so there's plenty to go around. The food boxes will be given out between 1:30 and 3:00 this afternoon in the Cross Insurance Center parking lot, closest to Buck Street.

The Farmers to Families program was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, to help families in areas that have been significantly impacted by the closure and limiting of food service businesses. The USDA is purchasing billions of dollars' worth of fresh produce, dairy, and meat products from American producers and putting together boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh dairy products, and meat products to be distributed to anyone in need. The food is then being distributed by local food pantries, non-profits, and faith-based organizations like Manna.