Volunteers distributed 4,000 gallons of donated milk
The COVID-19 outbreak has caused widespread closures, keeping people at home. Due to these supply chain disruptions and shifts in consumer-buying habits, demand for dairy products has decreased. At the same time, many families are facing unemployment, which has caused an increase in demand at food banks. Despite the pandemic, dairy cows produce milk every day and in some cases, this created an excess of product in the marketplace. Rather than dumping product, Dairy Farmers of America has donated more than 150,000 gallons of milk to organizations and communities in need throughout the Northeast. Local DFA farmers donated 5,000 gallons of milk to Monroe County for the event on Monday.
“With so many in our community facing economic hardships due to COVID-19, we were looking for a way to help,” said Michael Balonek. “We reached out to our local Cornell Cooperative Extension office in Monroe County and decided the best way to serve those in need was by partnering with our local CCE, DFA, and the University of Rochester to get milk to those who needed it most in the urban Rochester communities.”
Drivers were queued up on University of Rochester’s campus to receive touchless donations. Drivers were asked to pop their trunk or open their windows while the volunteer team loaded multiple half-gallon milk bottles and hand sanitizer into their cars.
Milk not distributed at the drive on Monday is being kept at the University of Rochester food pantry and distributed to small food pantries across Monroe County.