The Defense Commissary Agency has established a formal process covering diversion of unsellable but edible food to local food banks.
The program now involves 110 stateside commissaries that will divert qualifying food to 77 food banks approved by the Department of Defense, but both numbers will continue to rise.
“During fiscal year 2013, DeCA donated 638,582 pounds,” said Randy Eller, deputy director of DeCA’s logistics division.
“Already in fiscal 2014, we have donated more than 1 million pounds, so our donations this year could approach 1.5 million pounds,” he continued. “This may sound like a lot, and the food banks are certainly grateful, but edible, unsellable product amounts to less than 1 percent of what we sell worldwide. We strive for as little loss as possible to remain efficient and effective.”
Following the government shutdown in 2013, DeCA and government officials recognized the need for a formal program for diverting unsellable but wholesome food.
Once stateside commissaries returned to normal operations after the Oct. 2-6 shutdown, DeCA received a one-time exception from the Under Secretary of Defense Personnel and Readiness to authorize local food banks to receive food donations.
With that exception, DeCA turned over approximately $250,339 in grocery, meat and produce merchandise to 72 food banks throughout the United States, preventing entry into the waste stream. Turning that one-time project into an ongoing program involved nearly six months of work. DeCA headquarters staff contacted all U.S. commissaries and established procedures to gain approval for participating food banks.
This system differs from the annual Feds Feed Families campaign that runs June through August. Under Feds Feed Families, commissaries serve as collection points for their installations, and all donations come from DeCA customers.
Commissaries with food bank partnerships, by state:
Alabama: Gunter Annex, Maxwell Air Force Base
Alaska: Anchorage Area, Eielson Air Force Base, Fort Wainwright, U.S. Coast Guard Base Kodiak
Arizona: Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Fort Huachuca
Arkansas: Little Rock Air Force Base
California: Edwards Air Force Base, Fort Irwin, March Air Reserve Base, Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center Bridgeport, Naval Outlying Landing Field Imperial Beach, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Naval Air Station North Island, Ord Community, Naval Base San Diego, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms
Colorado: Air Force Academy, Buckley Air Force Base, Fort Carson, Peterson Air Force Base
Delaware: Dover Air Force Base
District of Columbia: Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling
Florida: Eglin Air Force Base, Hurlburt Field, MacDill Air Force Base, Naval Air Station Pensacola, Tyndall Air Force Base, Naval Air Station Whiting Field
Georgia: Fort Gordon, Hunter Army Air Field, Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Robins Air Force Base, Fort Stewart
Hawaii: Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (both commissaries), Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Schofield Barracks
Illinois: Naval Station Great Lakes
Kansas: Fort Leavenworth, McConnell Air Force Base, Fort Riley
Kentucky: Fort Campbell, Fort Knox
Louisiana: Barksdale Air Force Base, Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base New Orleans
Maine: Bangor Army National Guard Base
Maryland: Aberdeen Proving Ground, Andrews Air Force Base, Fort Meade
Michigan: Selfridge Army National Guard Base
Mississippi: Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport, Keesler Air Force Base
Montana: Malmstrom Air Force Base
Nebraska: Offutt Air Force Base
Nevada: Nellis Air Force Base
New Mexico: Cannon Air Force Base, Holloman Air Force Base, Kirtland Air Force Base, White Sands Missile Range
New York: Fort Drum, West Point U.S. Military Academy
North Carolina: Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, Fort Bragg (both commissaries), Marine Corps Air Station New River, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base
North Dakota: Grand Forks Air Force Base
Ohio: Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
Oklahoma: Altus Air Force Base, Fort Sill, Tinker Air Force Base, Vance Air Force Base
Pennsylvania: Carlisle Barracks, C.E. Kelly, Tobyhanna Army Depot
South Carolina: Charleston Air Force Base, Naval Weapons Station Charleston, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island
South Dakota: Ellsworth Air Force Base
Texas: Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Dyess Air Force Base, Fort Hood (both commissaries), Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Lackland Air Force Base, Laughlin Air Force Base, Randolph Air Force Base, Fort Sam Houston, Sheppard Air Force Base
Virginia: Fort Belvoir, Joint Base Langley-Eustis (both commissaries), Fort Myer commissary at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Naval Air Station Oceana, Marine Corps Base Quantico
Washington: Naval Base Bangor, Fairchild Air Force Base, Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton, Joint Base Lewis-McChord (both commissaries), Smokey Point Naval Supply Complex, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island
Wisconsin: Fort McCoy
Wyoming: F.E. Warren Air Force Base