Though it’s difficult for food banks to stock this item, nutrient-dense milk is one of the most-often requested items. Now, in these critical times, the Kroger grocery store chain has ramped-up its Dairy Rescue Program, one that takes donated excess raw milk normally sold to restaurants or hotels, which is now going to waste, and pays for the packaging and processing in order to provide a nutritious food source for communities in need.
The effort also helps support dairy farmers struggling to find enough demand for their supply—especially now that schools are closed.
In partnership with its dairy cooperative, with suppliers and farmers across the Midwest and South, Kroger will use its facilities in Texas, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio to process and donate about 200,000 gallons of additional milk to Feeding America food banks and community organizations through the end of August.
“Kroger recognizes the growing need for fresh, highly nutritious food in our community, especially for children, as schools remain closed to flatten the curve during the pandemic,” said Erin Sharp, Kroger’s group vice president of manufacturing.
“At a time when dairy farmers have surplus raw milk, we’re doubling down on our mission to reduce hunger and waste.”
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Through the expanded program, Kroger’s dairy processing plants and suppliers will be donating an additional 50,000 gallons of milk per month to local food banks and community organizations. Feeding America member food banks and other partners will help Kroger to transport the gallons and half-gallons to local hunger relief agencies.
“With so many families struggling with unemployment and food insecurity today, providing access to fresh, nutrient-rich milk has never been more important,” said Blake Thompson, chief supply chain officer, Feeding America. “Kroger’s Dairy Rescue Program is keeping America’s farmers productive, avoiding unnecessary food waste, and helping families in need.”
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Some dairy farmers are struggling as demand for milk in America gradually decreases, with alternatives like oat, rice, coconut, almond, cashew, and soy milks are taking huge chunks out of the milk market share.
“Kroger’s Dairy Rescue Program is an invaluable resource for the dairy industry during this crisis and beyond,” said Heather McCann, director of public affairs for Dairy Farmers of America’s Mideast Area.
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Even though Kroger is a large corporation, personal human relationships between producers, suppliers, and vendors are often very strong, as the logistical operations behind them require a large amount of cooperation and trust. So helping such farmers be productive during changing or challenging times is a win-win-win.
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This is just one of many positive stories and updates that are coming out of the COVID-19 news coverage this week. For more uplifting coverage on the outbreaks, click here.