Commissaries serve as Feds Feed Families collection sites Published June 17, 2015 By Jessica Rouse Defense Commissary Agency Public Affairs FORT LEE, Va. (AFNS) -- Commissaries are serving as collection points for the Feds Feed Families campaign, which began June 1 and ends Aug. 31 at participating stateside military installations. During the campaign, participating installations help collect items most needed by food pantries and then donate them to area food banks. "This marks our sixth consecutive year participating in this campaign, and what could be better than helping provide food for those in need around us," said Randy Eller, the Defense Commissary Agency’s (DeCA) deputy director of logistics. Last year, DeCA collected almost 1 million pounds of food donated at commissaries and given to area food banks. That represented 30 percent of the Defense Department’s total Feds Feed Families’ donations. Many stores featured donation packages provided by commissary vendors for patrons to purchase and donate on the spot. "2014 was a great campaign year for us," Eller said. "Our customers should be really proud -- a large number of people were helped." Since the campaign's inception in 2009, over 24 million pounds of food have been donated. Once the items have been collected, installation officials will work with their commissary to deliver the items to their local food bank. The most needed items for donations include: · Canned vegetables - low sodium, no salt · Canned fruits - in light syrup or its own juices · Canned proteins - tuna, salmon, chicken, peanut butter and beans · Soups - beef stew, chili, chicken noodle, turkey or rice · Condiments - tomato-based sauces, light soy sauce, ketchup, mustard, salad dressing or oils · Snacks - individually packed snacks, crackers, trail mix, dried fruit, granola and cereal bars, pretzels, and sandwich crackers · Multigrain cereal · 100 percent juice - all sizes, including juice boxes · Grains - brown and white rice, oatmeal, bulgur, quinoa, couscous, pasta, and macaroni and cheese · Paper products and household items - paper towels, napkins and cleaning supplies · Hygiene items - diapers, deodorants (men and women), feminine products, toilet paper, tissues, soap, toothpaste and shampoo "We want to make a difference in the communities surrounding our stores," Eller said. "And our patrons and employees help us do that." This year, no goals have been set, but DOD is urging participants to do their best to top their past donations. For more information on this campaign, go to the U.S. Department of Agriculture website.