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President Donald Trump’s letter to millions of Colorado families receiving food boxes was removed by one of the groups distributing the packages.
The Denver Community Food Access Coalition excused its actions with a dubious complaint about the potential misinformation by the president. Trump’s letters included in the Farmers to Families Food Boxes, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and in operation through most of the coronavirus pandemic, were reportedly removed by the group before the food was distributed.
As part of the food assistance program, local farmers provide dairy and meat products as well as vegetables to charitable organizations and food banks in an effort to help those affected by the pandemic. The boxes began to include a letter from the president a few months ago, offering information on safety procedures as well as reassurances to recipients.
But critics in the blue state had a meltdown over the letter which told families to “consider wearing a face covering when in public.”
(Source: CBS4 Denver)
The Denver Community Food Access Coalition began to remove the letters from the boxes being distributed, effectively cutting off the president’s communication with Colorado residents. Their objection was supposedly over Trump telling people to “consider” wearing a mask while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “recommend” that everyone does.
The letter, printed in both English and Spanish, was obtained by Fox News back in July, and says, in part, that “as our country reopens, I urge all Americans to continue to adhere to the important precautions set forth in the President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America and by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding how to best protect yourself and your family.”
“As President, safeguarding the health and well-being of our citizens is one of my highest priorities,” the letter began, going on to note how the president “prioritized sending nutritious food…”
The president’s message included information about handwashing and practicing social distancing, among other things. It ended by telling the recipients they are ” cherished members of our great American family.”
Today, @USDA announced that the Farmers to Families Food Box Program has delivered more than 100 million boxes of food across the country!
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) September 29, 2020
“I support and applaud the innovative use of the Farmers to Families Food Box program to deliver essential public health messages related to COVID-19,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a statement at the time. “In addition to benefiting from fresh produce, dairy and meat products, Americans in need also are receiving essential information about how to protect themselves and others from COVID-19.”
But apparently, for those distributing the packages, the letter might remind recipients of the president’s priorities and his concern for them.
The DCFAC complained that Trump’s words differ from CDC guidelines which say “CDC recommends that everyone wear a mask over their nose and mouth when in public.” And this was allegedly grounds to remove the letters from the food boxes since they were deemed to be self-promoting in this election year.
The Executive Director of the Denver Food Rescue argued that “politicizing the one lifeline Colorado families have left during this health pandemic and economic crisis by putting these letters in food boxes is shameful and degrading.”
Apparently, Colorado organizations are not the only ones making their own decision on who gets to hear from the president with the food program that has Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter as a public ambassador for the program.
“In my 30 years of doing this work, I’ve never seen something this egregious,” Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Food Banks, said earlier this month, according to Politico. “These are federally purchased boxes.”
“We are a nonpartisan organization,” Greg Trotter, a spokesman for the Greater Chicago Food Depository, complained. “While the content of the letter is not overtly political, we think it’s inappropriate to include a letter from any political candidate just weeks from an election.”
“There are real questions as to whether food assistance organizations can ethically distribute such a message with an election looming in mere weeks,” an Oregon food bank CEO, Susannah Morgan, said after the organization decided not to even participate in the program allegedly because of the letters.