By Marlee Moore
A stream of vehicles looped through the Garrett Coliseum parking lot July 14 as volunteers distributed 2,275 gallons of delicious, healthy, free milk to River Region families.
The contactless, drive-thru donation in Montgomery was made possible through Borden Dairy Co., The Dairy Alliance and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farmers to Families Food Box Program.
The USDA project helps farmers and distributors dispense American-grown products while providing families with nutritious food during the coronavirus pandemic.
Alabama Farmers Federation staff, including Dairy Division Director Russ Durrance, volunteered at the event.
“Milk is a wholesome product that provides nine essential nutrients to people of all ages, from children to adults,” Durrance said. “Although our interactions with community members were limited because of safety measures aimed at limiting spread of COVID-19, it was a pleasure to tangibly give back with our partners at Borden and The Dairy Alliance. Dairy is an important part of any diet and builds strong bones and healthy bodies.”
Volunteers, suited up with face coverings, loaded a total of 1,375 gallons of milk directly into car trunks. An additional 900 gallons were donated to the Montgomery Area Food Bank.
The Montgomery-based donation was one of many The Dairy Alliance has coordinated around the Southeast during the pandemic, including a giveaway in Phenix City July 22. The alliance is a nonprofit promoting dairy farmers and dairy knowledge in eight states — Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
The alliance encourages a healthy lifestyle that includes three servings of milk, cheese or yogurt daily. Staffer Mekenzie Panhans said her organization was excited to coordinate the donation on behalf of Alabama dairy farmers.
“Many families are struggling due to COVID-19,” said Panhans, the alliance’s farmer relations manager. “The goal of this giveaway was to provide families in need with the calcium, protein, vitamin D and other valuable nutrients that milk offers, while helping dairy farmers redistribute milk that has been otherwise displaced due to supply-chain disruptions.”
Visit TheDairyAlliance.com to learn more.