Here’s an impressive stat: Federal employees this summer collected nearly 5.8 million pounds of food for the Feds Feed Families program. That’s well more than triple the amount donated last year.
Last summer, feds donated 1.7 million pounds of food, and in 2009, the program’s first year, they donated 1 million pounds.
The government hoped to collect 2 million pounds this year. But the Defense Department employees alone donated slightly more than that, and the Agriculture Department raised almost 1.8 million pounds.
“Feds Feed Families was a resounding success,” Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry said. “This is just one more reminder of the generosity of federal employees. Over the last few decades, federal employees have given billions of dollars to charity, and they always deliver when called to action.”
The nonperishable food items will be donated to food banks nationwide.
UPDATE: OPM appears to have made a mistake in their press release. I sent them an inquiry this morning asking why their release called the results “record-setting” while growth was apparently flat from 2008 to 2009, and asked for exact numbers.
OPM spokesman Marcus Williams just sent me an e-mail saying federal employees pledged $282,620,139 in 2009, and $275,898,745 in 2008. That represents a 2.4 percent increase. OPM’s release has not yet been updated as of Wednesday evening.
ORIGINAL POST: Federal employees pledged nearly $276 million to charities during last year’s Combined Federal Campaign, the Office of Personnel Management said last night. That is roughly the same amount that feds raised during the 2008 campaign, and marks the first time CFC donations have not increased noticeably since 2002.
The poor economy may have been a factor in 2009′s flat results. Some campaign leaders were concerned last year that the lingering recession might discourage feds from donating, and some campaigns kept their goals flat from 2008, or even lowered them.
But OPM Director John Berry lauded federal employees for their generosity, and on Monday honored 11 feds for their leadership during last year’s Combined Federal Campaign charity drive. Berry wants to improve the public’s image of federal employees, and has often spoken of their charity during campaigns like the CFC and the Feds Feed Families food drive.
“Just as federal employees work for the American public in communities throughout our country, they also give back to these same communities through programs like the Combined Federal Campaign,” Berry said at the White House ceremony. “I am proud to recognize the volunteer efforts of federal employees, whose donations through the CFC program represent the largest workplace charity program in the world.”
Berry also presented awards to nine regional campaigns that recorded the largest pledge increases over 2008, and five other campaigns that took innovative steps to encourage employee contributions.
Federal agencies will start collecting food nationwide underÂ the Feds Feed Families program this week, the Office of Personnel Management said. Canned and other unperishable food items will be picked up the last Friday in June, July and August, but agencies will put out cardboardÂ collection bins a few days earlier, OPM Director John Berry and Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., saidÂ at a press conference at a Northern Virginia food pantry.
OPM itself already has filled theÂ 10 cardboard bins it has at the entrance to its Washington headquarters three times over, Berry said. The government hopes to collect 1 million pounds of food by the end of summer.
OPM launched the food drive because food banks often run low during the summer months, when people are often on vacation and forget to donate. Also, low-income children who are on summer vacation don’t get school lunches or breakfasts and could go hungry, Berry said:
So right when parents need the most help and they turn to the community food banks, unfortunately many of those shelves are getting thin, because the demands in our economic times are tough. [...] Federal employees know how blessed they are. They’ve got good jobs, they’re respected by their nation. This is an opportunity for them to give back to their communities and I know they’re going to step up to this plate.
And Berry said OPM is cooking up a contest to see which agency can donate the most pounds ofÂ food per employee, thoughÂ he hasn’t yet settled on aÂ prize.
OPM plans to track how much food has been donated at theÂ drive’s officialÂ Web site,Â www.fedsfeedfamilies.gov.
The Office of Personnel Management has a lofty goal for federal workers this summer, challenging them to donate one million pounds of food to the Capitol Area Food Bank.
OPM Director John Berry and Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., will announce details of the “Feds Feed Families” national food drive Tuesday afternoon at Food For Others’ Virginia warehouse in Fairfax. They’ll be joined by Lynn Brantley, director of the Capitol Area Food Bank.
President Obama has called upon all Americans to give back to their local communities, and the federal workforce has quickly mobilized. This is an unprecedented undertaking by federal workers to meet the needs of our neighbors by collecting one million pounds of food in this short amount of time,” Berry said in a news release.