New USDA restrictions resulted in the project not being approved for phase four
MIAMI, Okla. – The Miami Good Neighbor Project has served thousands of people in need since March, through the USDA’s farmers to families food box program.
But with new restrictions to the program, and a reduction in delivery sites, the Good Neighbor Project has closed its doors for now.
“For whatever reason we did not get picked up from phase 4, we went from about ten shipments per week down to one during phase three and when phase four started we applied but we did not get approved because there’s only one shipper in the state of Oklahoma and he’s actually in Texas” said Rick Aldridge with the Miami Good Neighbor Project.
The sudden halt of the project was not something they expected.
“We had a lot of people that went to bat for us that went directly to the USDA and said hey this is the place we want to ship to, but they got turned down so it was pretty frustrating” added Aldridge.
Aldridge says they are going to do what they can to get things running again .
“At worst case we’ll go back to building food boxes and giving them to those that need it in hopes that phase 5 comes up well be picked back up so we can go back to doing what we have been doing.”
For now the Salvation Army in Miami is stepping up to help.
“Good Neighbor Project fulfilled a need in the community that was new because of COVID. The Good Neighbor Project provided us extra groceries, we got some milk from them, some chicken and things like that so they were a good supplement for what we were doing” said Director of Miami Salvation Army, Debbie Hillestad.
Since the good neighbor project has stopped operations, the Salvation Army has seen an influx in demand at their food bank.
“To me its super important that we meet those simple needs of hunger, warmth, whatever it looks like so together as a community we’re healthy and there’s hope for them too” added Hillestad.
The Salvation Army is open Tuesday’s and Thursday’s from 9 A.M. to noon.
The project organizers are currently reconstructing their warehouse to better operate the needs of the community for when they possibly start up again.
“It’s all about feeding the people right now especially with COVID, there’s a massive need that’s just not being met right now” added Aldridge.
Those in need are also being referred to food banks in Quapaw and Wyandotte.