KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Nearly 100,000 meals for the hungry were made possible during June Dairy Month, thanks to a nationwide effort by Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. (DFA). Throughout the month, DFA members and staff worked to deliver on the Cooperative's core value of community by helping fight hunger across the United States.
The Cooperative initially set out to provide 50,000 meals to those in need through a series of fundraisers, volunteer events and local food drives, the majority of which benefitted affiliates of Feeding America, the nation’s largest network of food banks.
Ultimately, DFA members and staff doubled that goal, giving nearly 700 hours of volunteer time, donating more than 7,700 pounds of food, sorting and packaging another 65,000 pounds of food during volunteer events, and contributing more than $5,000 in cash and grocery gift cards.
The 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.
“Hunger is a serious problem affecting a growing number of Americans,” said Jackie Klippenstein, vice president of legislative and industry affairs. “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.”
Examples of contributions to the June Dairy Month campaign include:
- Members and staff in DFA’s Mountain Area organized Dairy Cares Day — a simultaneous event spanning three cities: Broomfield, Colo.; Twin Falls, Idaho; and Salt Lake City, Utah. Volunteers in each city spent the morning sorting and packaging food, as well as delivering meals to those in need. In addition, in each location area DFA members had the opportunity to fill reusable grocery bags with nonperishable food items, which their milk haulers assisted in collecting. Thanks in part to a contribution by Western Dairy Association, more than 7,000 pounds of food items and dairy products were donated.
- In Kansas City, where DFA is headquartered, DFA employees logged more than 125 hours of volunteer time at Harvesters Community Food Network, where they processed more than 42,000 pounds of food for distribution to area food banks.
- Staff at DFA’s Mideast Area office spent more than 50 hours packaging 2,000 pounds of food. Employees also hosted a food drive in support of the Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank.
- Western Area employees donated time at the Second Harvest Food Bank of San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties and Second Harvest Food Bank Serving Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, where they spent more than 40 hours sorting 5,800 pounds of produce and dry grocery items.
- Friendly competitions at DFA’s Northeast and Southwest Area offices raised more than 400 pounds of food for donation to the Food Bank of Central New York in Syracuse, N.Y., and Tarrant Area Food Bank in Fort Worth, Texas, respectively.
The DFA Cares Virtual Food Drive, an online fundraising campaign benefitting Feeding America, generated $5,000 in donations – the equivalent of 35,000 meals.