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Wednesday
Jan162019

Chef Jose Andres opens restaurant to serve federal workers for free

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The call to action for chef and activist Jose Andres' food relief organization to set up shop in the nation's capital is unlike the usual circumstances under which the group operates, dropping into towns ravaged by hurricanes or burnt to the ground by wildfires.

In those cases, modern technology is often stripped away and volunteers with Andres' organization, World Central Kitchen, have to make their pop-up kitchens and food supply stations work for disaster victims in spite of spotty cell phone service or a lack of electricity.

But in Washington, Tim Kilcoyne, a lead chef with the non-profit, set up a cafe and restaurant to feed federal workers that are fully furnished and already suited with a kitchen, not to mention surrounded by bustling businesses and busy streets. Here, the problem is not a fire or a flood -- they've arrived to help some of the 800,000 government employees who are still without a paycheck on day 26 of the longest-ever government shutdown.

“Whether its activation for a natural disaster or a human disaster — we’re here to support, here to help,” Kilcoyne said.

The pop-up, which opened on Wednesday, is called #ChefsForFeds and will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week, to provide federal workers in the nation's capital with free meals at its location between Capitol Hill and the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Many of the volunteers working to cook for and serve the federal workers who come by are also federal workers themselves, some of whom are looking to fill the downtime they'd normally be spending at the office.

"It seemed like a really good opportunity to give back and do something with my time in a way that's going to be meaningful, and hopefully help some people who are struggling," said Annie Shah, a furloughed federal employee who works for the Food and Drug Administration.

Shah said the last 26 days have made her feel "stir crazy" sitting at home, unable to make travel plans because the government could open at any time. But she's also anxious and wants to keep up the work she was doing.

"I love the work that I do and the people that I work with, and we have a really great mission at the FDA that I love to be a part of," she said.

 On opening day, #ChefsForFeds was ready to feed up to 2,000 federal employees and had already filled its volunteer needs, aided by the help of Shah and others. Tomato fennel bisque, a kale, brussel sprouts and quinoa power bowl and a fried egg sandwich with ham and cheese were on the menu.

The pop-up is part of World Central Kitchen’s food-relief operation, which Andres started in 2010 after a devastating earthquake in Haiti. In the past year, WCK has served over 4.8 million meals to people in natural disasters zones around the world.

 On opening day, #ChefsForFeds was ready to feed up to 2,000 federal employees and had already filled its volunteer needs, aided by the help of Shah and others. Tomato fennel bisque, a kale, brussel sprouts and quinoa power bowl and a fried egg sandwich with ham and cheese were on the menu.

The pop-up is part of World Central Kitchen’s food-relief operation, which Andres started in 2010 after a devastating earthquake in Haiti. In the past year, WCK has served over 4.8 million meals to people in natural disasters zones around the world.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Jan162019

Ford, Volkswagen join forces on developing electric and self-driving technology

fredrocko/iStock(DETROIT) -- Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen AG are formally teaming up to develop and invest in electric vehicles, self-driving technology and mobility services, the automakers announced Tuesday from the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

As part of this global alliance, Ford and Volkswagen will manufacture commercial vans and medium-sized pickups for worldwide markets beginning as early as 2022. The larger commercial vans will be built by Ford for European customers of each brand. Volkswagen will focus on developing and assembling city vans. The automakers collectively sold nearly 1.2 million light commercial vehicles in 2018.

The alliance will "boost competitiveness and better allow us to serve our customers globally," Ford CEO Jim Hackett told reporters during a conference call. "We'll build strength and scale in new opportunities," he said, adding that the business models of each company will be leveraged.

The partnership will also yield significant savings, Herbert Diess, the CEO of Volkswagen, explained.

"It's no secret our industry is undergoing fundamental change," Diess said. "We are two strong players with a proud history. It makes sense to pool capabilities and share investments. We will both be able to shape the future of mobility. The partnership significantly improves market position for both brands."

According to Hackett, the alliance does not involve cross ownership and Ford and Volkswagen will continue to market and manufacture discernibly different products.

"We will continue to work as separate and competitive entities," he said.

Asked how the alliance would affect workers, Hackett said he did "not anticipate any work force reduction in our factories."

Hackett and Diess confirmed that their companies were fully committed to making this alliance a success.

"We have highly complimentary strengths," Diess said. "We have developed trust for each other and better understanding of our businesses."

Brian Moody, executive editor at Autotrader, said the alliance between Ford and VW underscored the need for American automakers to have a robust global strategy.

"As we’ve seen with other partnerships, leveraging two brands, complementary strengths can help close gaps in product offerings as the types of 'in-demand' vehicles continue to change both in America and abroad," he said.

Rebecca Lindland, an independent automotive analyst, told ABC News that more alliances between automakers will become common.

"The levels of investment required for successful execution in the [mobility and autonomous vehicle] space is so enormous, it only makes sense for manufacturers to collaborate with each other," she said.

Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds executive director of industry analysis, said the alliance could determine the long-term fate of Ford and Volkswagen -- two iconic automotive brands.

"Automakers aren’t just competing with each other anymore, they’re under intense pressure from well-funded tech companies who are eager to get in on the future of mobility," she said. "Cutting costs by sharing vehicle architectures and manufacturing facilities is just table stakes in this new world and is a nice place to start. However, the key to success will be if Ford and VW can help each other fend off the upstarts and become leading forces in electric and autonomous vehicle technology."

Volkswagen said Monday it would invest $800 million in its Chattanooga, Tennessee, plant and hire 1,000 new workers as it ramps up production of electric vehicles. Hackett said Ford and Volkswagen have an incentive to cooperate on this technology because of the large investments required.

President Donald Trump praised the announcement on Twitter, writing, "Volkswagen will be spending 800 million dollars in Chattanooga, Tennessee. They will be making Electric Cars. Congratulations to Chattanooga and Tennessee on a job well done. A big win!"

Hackett said more details on the global alliance will be announced in the coming weeks.

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Wednesday
Jan162019

Supreme Court hears wine retailer challenge to Tennessee liquor law

dkfielding/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- Since the end of Prohibition, the sale of alcohol in the United States has been regulated almost exclusively by state and local governments. But when do those regulations go too far?

The Supreme Court on Wednesday will consider whether strict residency requirements for retailers of beer, wine and liquor in Tennessee are constitutional or must be struck down.

"It's the first time in over a decade that the Supreme Court has taken a case that could permanently alter the way alcohol is regulated," said Illya Shapiro, director of constitutional studies at the Cato Institute.

By law in Tennessee, an individual must reside in the state for at least two years in order to obtain a one-year sales license from the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission. To renew, the retailer must have lived in the state for at least 10 consecutive years. The rules also apply to corporations and their "officers, directors and stockholders."

"It comes down to, ultimately, whether the 21st Amendment, which ended Prohibition and gave the states a lot of power -- virtually limitless power -- over alcohol regulation, whether that allows this kind of requirement," Shapiro said.

Critics say the law -- and dozens of similar measures in other states -- erects an impossible barrier to outsiders seeking to do business in Tennessee. They argue that the regulation violates the Constitution's commerce clause which limits state discrimination against out-of-state business interests.

National retail chain Total Wine and More is challenging the law along with Doug and Mary Ketchum, small business owners who moved to Tennessee from Utah in 2016 and wanted to open a wine store to help support their daughter, Stacie, who has cerebral palsy.

"The bizarre durational residency requirements enacted by Tennessee are blatantly protectionist, have no legitimate regulatory purpose, and cannot be squared with decades of this Court's Commerce Clause jurisprudence," they wrote in court documents.

A federal district court sided with Total Wine and the Ketchums. The Court of Appeals affirmed that decision. And the state of Tennessee did not appeal the ruling.

The Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association, backed by 35 states, asked the justices for a review. They argue residency requirements are permissible under the 21st Amendment and are essential to maintaining public safety, welfare and accountability in liquor markets.

They also contend local sellers know the community best and have its interests at heart.

"The longtime resident who attends football games on Fridays is less likely to be duped by the drum major's fake ID on Saturdays," the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of Tennessee writes in its brief to the court. "She is also less likely to do business with the town drunk if she knows he will drive around on the same streets that her family and friends use."

The Supreme Court has imposed some limits on state power to regulate alcohol sales. In a 2005 case, it struck down Michigan and New York laws banning out-of-state wine shipments. The ruling resulted in an expansion of direct winery-to-consumer shipments in dozens of states.

The outcome in the Tennessee case could affect the number of retail options available to consumers, the price of products on the shelves and the amount of competition facing local liquor retailers.

"Any erosion of 21st Amendment legal protections is likely to lead to further nationalization and commodification of the alcoholic beverage trade," said Christopher Riano, lecturer in constitutional law and government at Columbia University and general counsel to the New York State Liquor Authority.

"This could lead both to some benefits and also some detriments to consumers and retailers -- but, most significantly, it will make it increasingly difficult for the states to promote temperance in order to protect the public welfare, which is a core value of the 21st Amendment following the failed experiment of federal prohibition," Riano said.

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Wednesday
Jan162019

Netflix raising subscription prices, again

wutwhanfoto/iStock(NEW YORK) -- It's about to cost you more to get your Stranger Things fix.

Netflix is implementing the biggest subscription increase since the video streaming service launched 12 years ago, raising its U.S. prices by 13 to 18 percent, according to Deadline.

The price hikes will take effect immediately for new subscribers and will be phased in over three months for existing subscribers.

Netflix's most popular plan, which offers high-definition streaming on up to two different internet-connected devices simultaneously, will see the largest hike, from $11 to $13 per month. The least expensive Netflix plan, Basic, will now cost $9, up from $8.

The new round of increases is the fourth for Netflix and its first since late 2017.

The extra cash will help to pay for Netflix's huge investment in original programming, building on smash hits like Orange Is The New Black, Stranger Things, The Crown and, most recently, the hit film Bird Box. The increase will also offset the heavy debt it's accumulated trying to fend off competing streaming services.

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Wednesday
Jan162019

Furloughed by the government shutdown? Enjoy a free beer

andresr/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Want to do your part to help out a furloughed federal worker during the government shutdown? How about buying them a beer?

PayItFurloughed.com is making it happen. All you've got to do is make a donation to the cause via the website. PayItFurloughed in turn uses your donation to fund partnerships with Washington, D.C.-area local pubs and breweries who then pour a free cold one to any federal worker of legal drinking age who walks in and flashes their federal ID.

The PayItFurloughed homepage shows what they say is a "real-time tally of all the beers available." The more donations, the more beers. They also say they're working on partnering with D.C.-area restaurants to also offer free meals to furloughed workers, and plan to both extend the service beyond D.C., and expand the model to provide other services to people in need.

As of Tuesday afternoon, over 1,000 beers have been donated, according to a PayItFurloughed tweet.

"Donate to the beer fund now," reads the website's homepage. "Stressed-out federal employees and contractors, who are furloughed or working without pay, score free liquid therapy. Small businesses in the nation’s capital hit hard by the shutdown get some relief. And you feel awesome. It’s a win-win-win."

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Wednesday
Jan162019

Shutdown side hustles: Workers selling personal possessions, starting businesses

Bill Oxford/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Four weeks into the partial government shutdown, unpaid federal workers and contractors have started selling personal property, creating small businesses and spending more time with old friends.

Working for the Coast Guard was always Albert Waterford Jr.'s dream job. The disabled veteran enlisted for two decades and, after his retirement, went back to work for the service as a civilian. His wife, Kate Wells Waterford, is a small business owner who trains horses. For those in the Coast Guard, the furlough has affected them differently because service members in other branches of the U.S. military fall under the Defense Department, for which funding has been approved.

The Waterfords hoped to receive their normal three paychecks this week: one for Albert's retirement from the Coast Guard, one for his job as a civilian and an additional check for his disability from the Veterans Affairs. But because of the shutdown, the couple has started a "furlough sale" to supplement lost income -- selling saddles, halters, bridles and items on social media.

"I called it a furlough [sale] because it is more of an urgency now," Kate Waterford said. "It's really made us re-evaluate our whole lives."

They were able to sell a horse trailer a few days ago and she was already trying to sell a horse before the shutdown began. But as the shutdown has entered the fourth week, the couple told ABC News she'll make a deal with the first person who makes a reasonable offer.

If the shutdown continues, the Waterfords will make more changes. Albert said he'll try to get a job, possibly delivering pizzas. Kate Waterford said she'll sell her personal horse, Portia.

For some, the furlough has inspired new ideas and a new urgency to reinvest in existing businesses.

For John Deal, the furlough has meant he and his wife, both NASA contractors, are out of work without pay.

Deal has owned a heating-and-cooling company for the past 25 years, but before the shutdown it was a part-time gig. Now it's his main source of income. But after Christmas, Deal said the demand for residential work tends to idle.

"Nobody wants to spend money after the holiday, so [it's] kind of slow this time of the year," he said.

Becky Brown, a lawyer at the Department of Homeland Security in Washington, has been keeping busy throughout the shutdown.

She serves on the board of directors for the non-profit organization The Friends of Theodore Roosevelt Island, which works to support the National Park Service to preserve and protect the green space on the Potomac River between Virginia and Washington. Due to the four-week shutdown, National Park Service employees aren't working at the 91-acre island, so in an effort to help her favorite national park, Brown has aided with cleanup efforts.

She recently spent time collecting and bagging trash. And then she had to re-bag the trash after local animals chewed through the bags. Brown also worked with local officials in Arlington, Virginia, to see that the bagged trash would be picked up.

"It's nice to have some way to help," Brown told ABC News.

She takes 5-mile walks daily with her 60-pound dog, Tazwell. The rescue dog who suffers from separation anxiety has loved the extra time with his owner, and for Brown, the extra walking helps her match the amount she would normally do for her daily work commute.

She's spent a lot of time re-connecting with friends, especially ones whose schedules normally would present conflicts with her own. Brown, who also enjoys cooking, hosted a dinner party with several friends -- all women -- to brainstorm about creative endeavors.

A few years ago, she found a creative outlet maintaining a food and cooking blog, "My Utensil Crock." And days before the furlough, Brown began coming up with ideas for another venture, creative greeting cards for government workers called "Federalisms."

"You are essential. I mean, to me. Not to the government," one example reads.

With the extra time Brown currently has, she's devoted her time -- working around the clock -- to launch the new line within weeks.

"I am an optimist, there's nothing I can do," she said. "Me being upset is not going to make the government open any sooner."

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Wednesday
Jan162019

'We're all out of hamberders': Burger King flame broils Donald Trump

ilbusca/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Burger King, home of the Whopper, has joined a growing list of U.S. companies that have roasted President Donald Trump via social media.

After Trump offered up a fast-food feast to Clemson University's championship football team at the White House, the president bragged on Twitter about ordering more than 1,000 "hamberders" -- a spelling mistake quickly corrected.

Burger King's official Twitter account responded on Tuesday with: "Due to a large order placed yesterday, we're all out of hamberders. Just serving hamburgers today."

Trump paid for the "massive amounts of Fast Food" because the White House chefs have been furloughed as part of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Jan152019

Gillette uses new ad to urge men to get rid of 'toxic masculinity' in #MeToo era

Gillette/YouTube(NEW YORK) -- Gillette has been known for the past 30 years as a brand for men with the tagline, “The best a man can get.”

Now the shaving company, owned by Procter & Gamble, is calling on men to be better in a new ad that has already provoked controversy.

The ad, released Monday on social media, takes on toxic masculinity, opening with the question, "Is this the best a man can get?" It goes into a montage of clips of sexual harassment, fighting, bullying and fathers saying of their sons, "Boys will be boys."

The ad, titled "We Believe," has already been viewed more than 200,000 times on YouTube.

It drew mixed reactions on social media, with some people threatening to boycott Gillette.

Others applauded Gillette and called out those who were critical of the ad.

The mixed, and passionate, reactions are to be expected in this time of change amid the #MeToo movement, according to Christa Hodapp, Ph.D., director of the gender studies program at University of Massachusetts, Lowell.

"What we’re seeing right now is a huge conversation rethinking what we mean by gender roles," Hodapp told "Good Morning America." "I think a lot of people in the face of criticism are feeling very attacked and very defensive."

"Things are changing and when things change and difficult conversations come up there is some defensiveness," she added.

Gillette announced Monday it also plans to donate $1 million per year for the next three years to non-profit organizations "executing programs in the United States designed to help men of all ages achieve their personal 'best.'" The first organization Gillette plans to partner with is The Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

"Gillette is using our platform to advance a more modern, positive vision of what it means for men to be at their best," Damon Jones, Proctor & Gamble's vice president of global communications, told "GMA." "If we get people to pause, reflect and to challenge themselves and others to ensure that their actions reflect who they really are, then I think this campaign will have been a success."

The company began working on the ad in early 2018, according to Jones.

He took issue with critics who say Gillette is lecturing men on how to behave. Jones urged consumers to watch the entire ad themselves instead of reading headlines about it.

"Part of what we really wanted to do was to create a dialogue on the positive impact men have had, and I think we’ve been successful in sparking that dialogue," he said. "We’re seeing a lot of balance in the discussion."

He continued, "People on one extreme or the other are the most vocal but we generally have very positive reaction from both men and women of all ages."

Toxic masculinity in the spotlight

The Gillette ad includes a clip of Terry Crews testifying before Congress about the rights of sexual assault abuse survivors after he accused a high-profile Hollywood agent of assaulting him at a party.

Crews spoke about toxic masculinity after going public with his accusation. He told Esquire that he knew if he had thrown a punch the agent's way, "everyone in that room could make a phone call to every movie studio in the world: ‘Well, you know about Terry,’ and they’d believe them."

"This is what toxic masculinity is. People think, ‘Look how big you are, look how strong you are. If I was you, I would've killed him.’ But my body's not for killing. In America, we want to finish the movie. And the movie, if you’re a man, is 'Dirty Harry,'" he said.

Toxic masculinity is a topic that has been evolving over time, especially in pop culture, according to Hodapp.

"Not all aspects of masculinity are toxic," she said. "It is toxic when construct of masculinity over-emphasizes and over-values problematic aspects of the identity, like lack of emotion and shame culture."

She added, "The worst parts of it get played up so not only are the effects felt externally, but men suffer too because it’s inherently limiting. The damage [from it] is real and men report this pretty regularly."

Hodapp noted she found it interesting that an ad from a shaving company had provoked such a dialogue so quickly.

"It’s really interesting that our politics are happening through commercials," she said. "That might be what we need to start talking, to bring it into the mainstream conversation."

Before this commercial, the #MeToo movement inspired some men to start making changes. A group of men in Philadelphia, in one example, meet on a regular basis to "hold each other accountable" and collectively lay the groundwork to stop "toxic masculinity," sexual assault and harassment.

The Gillette ad ends with a call for more men to "be the best men can be" because "the boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow."

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Tuesday
Jan152019

Ford debuts 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500, its most powerful street-legal car

Ford Motor(DETROIT) -- European supercars, you've met your match.

Ford Motor on Monday debuted its new 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500 sports car -- the fastest and most advanced street-legal vehicle ever produced by the Dearborn, Michigan, automaker.

The hand-built, 5.2-liter aluminum alloy supercharged V8 engine turns out 700-plus horsepower and is "capable of mid-three-second 0-60 mph and sub-11-second quarter-mile scores," according to Ford. The GT500 also boasts an adjustable exposed carbon fiber GT4 track wing.

The Ford Performance team said it inverted a 2.65-liter roots-type supercharger with air-to-liquid intercooler into the V8 engine valley to keep the intake air cooler and deliver a lower center of gravity.

The 7-speed dual-clutch transmission can shift in under 100 milliseconds and includes several drive modes: normal, weather, sport, drag and track.

“With its supercar-level powertrain, the all-new Shelby GT500 takes the sixth-generation Mustang to a performance level once reserved only for exotics,” Hermann Salenbauch, global director, Ford Performance vehicle programs, said in an announcement. “As a Mustang, it has to be attainable and punch above its weight. To that end, we’ve set a new standard among American performance cars with our most powerful street-legal V8 engine to date, plus the quickest-shifting transmission ever in a Mustang for all-out precision and speed.”

Carroll Shelby, the legendary American race car driver, crafted the first-generation Shelby GT500 in 1967 with a modified 428-cubic-inch V8, inspired by his team’s 1-2-3 finish at Le Mans.

According to Ford, Shelby called the original GT500 “the first real car I’m really proud of.”

Ford did not announce pricing for the new Mustang but said the pony car will be available in showrooms this fall.

Bill Ford Jr., whose grandfather, Henry Ford, founded the company 115 years ago, reportedly has more than a dozen Mustangs in his personal car collection. He told ABC News in 2018 that no one imagined the Mustang would “create such a dedicated base of fans around the world” and still be in production today when it debuted at the New York World Fair in April of 1964.

The Mustang has been the best-selling sports car in the U.S. for the last three years.

Ford also introduced two new SUVs at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit: The Explorer ST, part of Ford Performance, and an Explorer Hybrid.

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Tuesday
Jan152019

Unpaid federal workers get help from food banks during government shutdown

asiseeit/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Food banks around the country near military bases or in cities with a lot of federal government employees have been stepping up to help the furloughed or unpaid workers during the government shutdown.

Over the weekend in Washington, a local food bank said 2,200 furloughed federal employees received produce and other items at pop-up locations.

As the historic government shutdown moves into its fourth week, with no end in sight, anti-hunger advocates and other groups are working to make sure that federal employees and contractors can access resources and get food while they aren't getting paid.

In Dallas, a local church is handing out gift cards to furloughed employees. In cities like Tampa, Florida; Chicago; Rochester, Minnesota and Ogden, Utah, food banks are setting up pantries or expanding hours so federal employees can pick up groceries or even pet food.

Some restaurants have also offered discounts for federal workers. Award-winning chef Jose Andres announced that his organization World Central Kitchen will start serving food on Pennsylvania Avenue in D.C.

One group, Hunger Free America, launched a hotline and website to help unpaid federal workers navigate the process to apply for benefits, locate food pantries, or find out how to volunteer while they are furloughed.

The CEO of Hunger Free NYC Joel Berg worked as a federal employee for eight years at the United States Department of Agriculture. He said that given low starting salaries for federal employees and that many Americans don't have enough savings for an emergency fund, missing even one paycheck is serious.

"It's clear that low-income federal employees could quickly run out of food after being denied even one paycheck," Berg said. "Many dedicated public servants will need extra help with food. This shutdown vividly demonstrates just how many Americans are only one missed paycheck away from hunger."

And for people who receive food assistance on a regular basis, advocates want to make sure they know they will receive their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, also known as food stamps, early this month and will have to make them last until the end of February.

Angie Rodgers, president of the Arizona Association of Food Banks, told ABC News she knows many families already have to stretch their monthly benefits and are worried about the impact for those that now have to make those benefits last even longer. She said almost all families that receive benefits don't carry any over to the next month and that, when push comes to shove, they'll sacrifice buying healthy food if they have to prioritize other expenses like rent.

"I think it really could have a significant impact with low-income families and those struggling with hunger because they are not going to have the cash to be able to float it to the next month," she said in an interview Friday, adding, "asking them to stretch a benefit that doesn't usually stretch 30 days into 45 days could be a challenge."

Politico also reported that retailers are scrambling to make sure they have enough food in stock to handle an early surge of shoppers using SNAP.

The "Fed Food" hotline is available at www.HungerFreeAmerica.org/FedFood and 855-859-4647. Information about SNAP and other government nutrition programs is also available on the USDA website and state government websites. Feeding America also has a search tool to find local food banks at FeedingAmerica.org.

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