Championship Belt and Bragging Rights at Stake as Showdown Looms
EL CENTRO – The Feds Feed Families “Ultimate Food Gathering Championship” is an annual competition between Naval Air Facility El Centro (NAFEC), the El Centro Sector Border Patrol, and the Calexico Ports of Entry. In total, the three federal agencies have collectively donated more than a quarter-million pounds of food since the inception of the local competition four years ago.
Last year, NAFEC crushed the competition by donating a total of 59,499 pounds of food to the Imperial Valley Food Bank, besting the 32,322 pounds donated by the El Centro Sector Border Patrol and the 27,124 pounds donated by the Calexico Ports of Entry. The competition’s winner is determined by which agency has the highest amount of food donated on a per capita basis. NAFEC, in addition to having the highest total amount of food donated, dominated in the per capita donation totals, with a ratio of 99.16 pounds donated per person. Personnel at the Calexico Ports of Entry gathered donations at a rate of 53.71 pounds per person, and the Border Patrol collected 29.54 pounds per person.
This year’s contest will run through the month of August.
According to local food bank officials, the food insecurity rate in Imperial Valley is estimated at 28% for all residents and 44% for Imperial County children; some of the worst rates in the nation. Summer is one of the hardest times to raise food and there is an increased demand for the food bank’s services.
“While the three agencies battle the issue of local hunger in friendly and spirited competition, the real winner each year is the Imperial Valley Food Bank,” said David Salazar, Port Director for the Calexico ports of entry. “We hope our collection efforts will serve to not only ease the Food Bank’s situation, but continue to raise public awareness about the issue of hunger in the Imperial Valley.”
“NAF El Centro is excited to once again partner with the Calexico Ports of Entry and the El Centro Sector Border Patrol in supporting the Imperial Valley Food Bank and the incredible job they do providing food assistance to more than 20,000 Imperial County residents per month,” said captain William C. Doster, Commanding Officer of NAF El Centro. “Last year our agencies collectively raised over 100,000 pounds of food; this year we hope to increase that number enabling the food bank to bring health and hope to the Imperial Valley.”
“The camaraderie between El Centro Sector Border Patrol, NAF El Centro, and the Calexico Ports of Entry not only allows the three agencies to engage in this friendly food-gathering competition, but allows us to directly impact the community in which we serve,” said Roy D. Villareal, Acting Chief Patrol Agent for the El Centro Sector. “While our service to the American public is often viewed in a law enforcement capacity, we also do our part to foster and ensure our community’s wellbeing.”
Stay tuned for more information as this three-way battle heats up.
The Feds Feed Families food drive is a national event coordinated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Since its inception in 2009, the food drive has collected over 39 million pounds of food nationwide.
For more information, please contact
Jonathan Pacheco at JONATHAN.D.PACHECO@cbp.dhs.gov,
Nolan Stickles at NOLAN.E.STICKLES@cbp.dhs.gov, and
Kristopher Haugh at KRISTOPHER.HAUGH@navy.mil