U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced Monday the U.S. Department of Agriculture will purchase an additional $1.5 billion worth of food for nationwide distribution through the Farmers to Families Food Box Program.

In all, USDA has distributed more than 132 million food boxes in support of American farmers and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This new round of Farmers to Families Food Boxes will go a long way in helping American families access nutritious and healthy meals as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to the President Trump’s leadership, we have helped tens of millions of families and countless farmers with this program,” Perdue said. “President Trump has committed to helping the American people recover and rebuild and this program helps American families get back on solid ground by ensuring they receive the nutritious food they need during these difficult times.”

The additional funding for the program was included in the COVID-19 relief package as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act passed Dec. 21. In this fifth round of purchases, USDA will again purchase combination boxes to ensure all involved recipient organizations have access to fresh produce, dairy products, fluid milk and meat products, and seafood products will also be included in this round.

The solicitation will be issued to more than 240 organizations that have previously received Basic Ordering Agreements (BOA). Solicitations to existing BOA holders are expected to be issued by the end of the week, with contract awards expected to be made by Jan. 19. Deliveries will begin shortly after awards are issued and continue through the end of April. Additional BOA proposals will not be reviewed nor accepted at this time.