Digital First: Merchants Food Service distributes farm to families food box

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today praised the award of a $10.3 million contract to the Hattiesburg-based Merchants Foodservice to package surplus foodstuffs for use by food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other non-profits groups serving those in need.

Hyde-Smith said the Famers to Families Food Box Program contract will help Merchants Foodservice continue operations, while also benefitting farmers and families in need. The economic ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic have stressed foodservice companies like Merchants, which employs 900 people in 12 states.

The Merchants Foodservice contract will allow the company to purchase fresh produce, dairy, and meat products for family-sized boxes for distribution to food banks.  The contract details $1, 656,200 to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables; $1,740,960 for dairy products; $6,282,180 for precooked meat (chicken and pork); $61,040 for combination boxes (produce, dairy, and meat); and $613,624 for fluid milk.

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