Dairy Donation Challenge: Making Dairy Available to Others

Think about your refrigerator at home, what is the one thing you can never run low on? For me, it’s milk. When there is no milk in our house, we all go into panic mode. How are we going to survive until the next grocery store visit? If you are anything like me, a little sadness sets in when you run out. Now imagine not being able to have milk in your refrigerator on a regular basis, or at all. For some people, this is their daily reality.

FDA employees and Rick Anderson Transportation at the Litchfield delivery.

We at First District Association care about producing high quality products for consumers to enjoy, and we want everyone to have these dairy foods in their refrigerators. Milk is essential for growth and brain development for children, helps quench thirst and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 Diabetes. To us, it is essential everyone has access to this wonderful source of nutrition. So we created the Dairy Donation Challenge.

What makes this donation story different from the others? We wanted to provide a consistent supply of milk to our local food shelf for an extended period of time, rather than in one lump sum. We were able to raise enough funds to supply both the Meeker County Area Food Shelf and Melrose Area Food Shelf. In fact, we are able to supply up to 125 gallons for each location every month for one year. This is more than enough milk to supply all of the families they serve.

Now how can we provide that much milk for one whole year? This program gave employees the option to donate a set amount of money to be deducted from their paychecks on a monthly basis to provide milk to the food shelves. These employees agreed to a yearlong commitment to provide local food shelves with a consistent supply of milk. We also extended this opportunity to our milk haulers and member creameries. 

FDA employees help with the first delivery in Litchfield.

Our team wanted to make sure these food shelves wouldn’t have to put forward any money towards the milk, including shipping costs. So we partnered with Stony Creek Dairy, a dairy farm and creamery just outside of Melrose, and a member-owner of First District Association. They will be supplying the milk and covering shipping costs for the food shelves. The program made its first delivery to both food shelves on June 3 and will run through May 2021.

By First District Association providing the milk, this allows the food shelves to be able to use money previously allocated for purchasing milk to instead be used to buy other dairy foods like cheese and yogurt. Additional dairy foods are not always consistently available to these families, and now we have provided an opportunity to put these dairy treats in their refrigerators.

We don’t want this to stop here. We want to continue with this program for years to come and want to see it grow with more involvement and more food shelves.

You can also help your local food shelf by reaching out and donating delicious dairy foods or volunteering.

A big thank you to Stony Creek Dairy for partnering with us on this amazing initiative. We want to extend a huge thank you to our milk haulers that donated – Rick Anderson Transport, Jeff Edmonds Trucking and Millwood Transportation. Also to Sunrise Ag Co-op for their donation to this challenge!

FDA employees and Millwood Transportation were present for the first delivery in Melrose.