By Jon King /

A free food distribution is set to take place Tuesday in Howell as part of a federal program to ensure excess food isn’t being wasted during the pandemic.

The Farmers to Families program is run through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which partners with national, regional and local suppliers, whose workforce has been significantly impacted by the closure of restaurants, hotels and other food service businesses. Up to $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy and meat products has been authorized for purchase and distribution into local communities.

Locally, that will be handled by St. John Catholic Church on N. Hacker Road and M-59 in Oceola Township. Parishioner Allen Luja is helping to organize the distribution and says that Gordon Food Service has prepared 500 boxes of food, which will be available on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 11am. Luja says boxes will consist of a mix of produce, dairy and pre-cooked chicken and pork.

He says the federal funding for the program will make it available each Tuesday in June, but then will run out. However, he hopes it might be extended into July depending on the demand. You'll find additional details on the church's Facebook page. That link is posted below.