The announcement comes as increased demand for food assistance continues due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“When we launched the Farmers Feeding Families Fund in April, we started working with rural and community food banks, and quickly realized that a lot of these smaller facilities had very limited cold storage, or in some cases, were completely lacking it,” said Jackie Klippenstein, senior vice president of government, industry and community relations.
“Access to refrigeration is one of the largest challenges for food banks to keep fresh foods like dairy on hand. Once we saw this was a need, we felt compelled to step up and help provide long-term infrastructure improvements to ensure food banks have refrigeration, so that they can offer dairy products to the hungry families that they serve.”
Klippenstein added, “This fund was born when one of our farmer-owners came to us and, recognizing the increased need at food banks due to COVID-19, wanted to help out.”
“Now, it’s really taken off with continued support from our farm families, DFA employees and the partnership of companies that we work with like Leprino Foods.”
Leprino Foods Company, in Denver, Colorado, one of DFA’s partners, recently made a contribution of $100,000 to the fund.
“Leprino Foods Company’s global responsibility efforts have consistently focused on addressing the local needs of our communities, with a particular emphasis on nutrition,” said Mike Durkin, president of Leprino Foods Company.
Since early April, DFA also has been working with other companies to coordinate drive-by milk giveaways and product donations directly to food banks.
This includes providing more than 250,000 gallons of milk at more than 60 drive-by milk giveaways throughout the Northeast; donating $10,000 worth of milk to Rhode Island schools through Guida’s Dairy; working with Kroger to donate more than 90,000 gallons of milk to food banks and health care workers in Kentucky, Ohio and Georgia; partnering with Daisy brand to donate 120,000 pounds of cottage cheese to food banks in Akron and Cleveland over a six-week period; donating 250,000 Kemps Giving Cow shelf-stable milks to food banks in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa; working with Dairy West to donate 9,775 pounds of cheese curds to Salt Lake City-area food banks; and providing more than 12,000 gallons of milk to food banks throughout Southern California.
“Through these initiatives and others, we’ve donated nearly 15m servings of dairy, but we know there’s still a huge need, which is why we’re proud to launch this refrigeration program and continue our efforts of getting food from our farms to families who need it,” Klippenstein said.
To date, the Farmers Feeding Families Fund has raised more than $650,000 and distributed more than $225,000 to rural and community food banks.