The USDA’s Feds Feed Families campaign for 2020 has started for federal workers, and Defense Commissary Agency customers and employees who want to donate to food banks and pantries.

This year’s program ends July 31 and, for the first time, the Defense Department has delegated DeCA as campaign lead, said Randy Eller, the agency’s logistics director.

“We are proud of taking the lead for a campaign that allows us to showcase how caring and giving our people are, and demonstrates the department’s commitment to helping people in need,” Eller said.

For the past 11 years, commissary customers and employees have traditionally set the pace for DoD donations. Last year, DeCA collected more than 753,000 pounds of donations, about 73 percent of the over 1 million pounds collected by DoD. The Naval Base San Diego Commissary led all stores, by donating more than 86,000 pounds.

Participating installations help collect items most needed by food pantries and donate them to area food banks. Commissary customers and employees have a couple options to participate:

By buying needed food and personal hygiene products to donate, while shopping at stateside commissaries, or dropping them off at store donation bins.

By buying prepackaged donation bags available in stateside commissaries for less than $10.

Once collected, installation officials work with the commissary to deliver donations to local food banks.

Some of the most-needed items are:

• Canned vegetables, low or no salt

• Canned fruits, in light syrup or their own juices

• Canned proteins, fish, chicken, peanut butter, beans

• Soups and stews

• Individually packed trail mix, dried fruit, granola and cereal bars

• Multigrain cereals

• 100% juice, juice boxes

• Grains, brown and white rice, oatmeal, bulgar, quinoa, couscous, pasta, and macaroni and cheese

• Paper products and household items

• Hygiene items – diapers, deodorants, feminine products, toilet paper, soap, toothpaste and shampoo