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Trump visits Mills River, commits $1B to COVID-19 food relief

MountainXpress - President Donald Trump, accompanied by his daughter, Ivanka Trump, and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, toured Flavor 1st Growers and Packers in Mills River on Aug. 24 to see firsthand how local farmers are working to feed individuals in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Flavor 1st, in partnership with North Carolina nonprofit Baptists on Mission, participates in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers to Families Food Box Program. Part of the USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, the initiative purchases produce, meat and dairy from farmers who lost restaurant sales due to COVID-19 closures before packaging and distributing the products to food banks, community groups and nonprofits.

During his remarks, Trump committed an additional $1 billion to the nearly $3 billion Farmers to Families program. Ivanka Trump echoed the commitment, calling it a “win-win-win” for farmers, workers and hungry families alike. According to the program’s website, the USDA expects to distribute over 70 million boxes of food by the end of August.

The visit marks Trump’s first appearance in Western North Carolina since 2016. Perdue toured the Flavor 1st facility last month. White House Chief of Staff and former Republican N.C. District 11 House member Mark Meadows was also in attendance, as were Madison Cawthorn — the Republican candidate running for Meadows’ old seat — Republican N.C. District 13 House member Ted Budd and N.C. State Senator Chuck Edwards, R-Henderson.