Food, time and money donated to local shelters
By CAROL RYAN DUMAS
June was Dairy Month, and Dairy Farmers of America showed its support for local communities in a big way.
Dairymen and staff donated 700 hours, $5,000 in cash and grocery gift cards, and more than 7,700 pounds of food to local charities. They also sorted and packaged another 65,000 pounds of food.
The nationwide effort totaled nearly 100,000 meals for the needy, said Kristi Dale, DFA media relations manager.
Valley House Homeless Center in Twin Falls, Idaho, was one of the recipients. The shelter received 20 bags of canned goods and 160 pounds of cheese, said Sharon Breshears, executive director.
"We rely totally upon the community and service organizations, so it means everything," she said of the donation. "It's how we keep our doors open."
The shelter can house 70 people per night, and last year served 561 people in transition, 161 children and 102 families. DFA's donation is really going to help, she said.
Not only did the DFA team donate food, the volunteers also organized the shelter's food rooms and cleaned up the property, she said.
"It was a huge success," said Lindsey Dimond, DFA Mountain Area field rep. "It was a fantastic opportunity for us to become more involved, a component of the larger effort nationwide."
Twenty area dairymen and staff donated 50 hours, about 600 pounds of canned foods and the 160 pounds of cheese, he said. Prior to the event, DFA distributed bags to its area dairy farmers, and its milk haulers brought them back full of food.
Such events will likely become an annual happening because DFA is committed to educating the public on hunger and feeding the hungry, he said.
"I think a lot of people don't realize the struggle and the amount of people in need," he said.
The June campaign was part of a larger DFA hunger and nutrition effort, which encompasses policy advocacy and legislative outreach, as well as collaboration with federal and local hunger and nutritional programs, Dale said. Events were held nationwide.
"Hunger is a serious problem affecting a growing number of Americans," Jackie Klippenstein, DFA vice president of legislative and industry affairs, said in a press release. "We believe that dairy products can play an important role in reversing the trend, and this national campaign reflects DFA's commitment to the issue."