All News > Food Pantry and Dairy Promotion Council Team up to Give Away Free Milk

Food Pantry and Dairy Promotion Council Team up to Give Away Free Milk

May 04, 2020

"The community has just been awesome. The generosity is beyond my imagination, the money donations, the food," said Food Pantry Administrator Marcia Bauer.

While the demand at the food pantry is rising, dairy farmers across the region have more product than they know what to do with.

That's when the Pepin County Dairy Promotion Council came up with an idea.

"Right now there's obviously problems in dairyland, there's too much milk for farmers. But on the other hand here at the food pantry she couldn't get enough milk to service the people that she has coming in to the food pantry," said Pepin County Dairy Promotion Chair Randy Koller.

The council donated 100 gallons of milk to the food pantry to be given away on Thursday afternoon.

The food pantry gave it all away to community members in just 15 minutes.

The council then went to the store to pick up more milk, and on the day gave out a total of 164 gallons.

"I currently have nephews and brothers that are in farming and I know their plight. It would just kill them to have to dump milk. And so if we can in anyway help," said Bauer.

Farmers say Wisconsin's dairy industry has been hit hard by the pandemic because a lot of its product is used in restaurants.

"90 percent of the milk in Wisconsin is made into cheese," explains Koller. "90 percent of that cheese leaves the state of Wisconsin, but more importantly a third of that 90 percent of Wisconsin's milk that is made into cheese is made into food service type cheeses."

Both the Durand Area Food Pantry and Pepin County Dairy Promotion say they didn't know what to expect from the giveaway of milk and cheese.

But seeing its success, both groups say it's something they'll consider doing again during this pandemic.

The cheese provided during the giveaway was donated by the Eau Galle Cheese.

The milk was sold to Pepin County Dairy Promotion at a lower rate per gallon so more milk could be given away, but those farmers wanted to remain anonymous.

Zach Prelutsky

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