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Maximizing Public Assistance at Federal Coronavirus Vaccination Sites

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS)/Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is currently providing assistance in setting up Mass Coronavirus Vaccination site locations where eligible members of the public can receive COVID-19 (Covid) vaccination shots. These sites are designed to vaccinate anywhere from hundreds to many thousands of people a day. The Pandemic of 2020-21 has caused large-scale financial problems throughout America and its Territories. Many people have become unemployed or underemployed due to the Covid Pandemic and as a result have been unable to afford to buy an adequate amount of food during the last year. Not only has there been a large increase in the number of Americans that need assistance in providing food for themselves and their families, but the Pandemic has also caused widespread financial losses to many businesses. As a direct result of these economic hardships, donations to Food Banks and Food Assistance programs have been reduced. One method of helping to solve this problem, is for DHS/FEMA to partner with local Food Banks in the locations where federal Covid vaccine sites are being setup to formulate a system to receive dry goods donations at the entry point of these locations. Lifesaving Covid vaccines are free for recipients, and many people receiving these vaccinations are also in need of food assistance. But other people coming for vaccination shots may also be in a position to donate to Food Banks. And a large quantity of donated dry goods could be efficiently organized and gathered by forming a partnership between the federal government and Local/Regional Food Banks to co-locate food donation bins at the entry points of federal Covid Mass Vaccination sites. Check-in workers or Food Bank volunteers could quickly place the donated goods in bins at each such site without holding up the queue line to enter each site. This is an idea that could provide life-sustaining assistance that many Americans are in immediate need of. Accordingly, DHS/FEMA should explore setting up this type of emergent donated food collection program.

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Idea No. 1760