A pilot program in the Bluegrass is working to get a Kentucky dietary staples in the hands of those who need it most. It’s happening with the help of a $30,000 grant from the Dairy Alliance.
Plastic jugs of milk were unloaded off a truck at a Winchester food bank.
God’s Pantry Food Bank used grant funding to buy seven coolers for its Winchester and Lexington pantries. Gallons of Kentucky produced milk are stored there for easy and quick distribution. Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles participated in the event at the Clark County warehouse. “It is our state’s official drink, but due to the perishability of milk, it’s always been hard to develop a program that got access to a volume of fresh milk for those in need,” said Quarles.
God’s Pantry CEO Mike Halligan expects the milk to food bank program to expand over time. “We want to grow the program from 60 gallons to 125 to 500 to 2500 gallons a week. That’s what the need is across central and eastern Kentucky,” noted Halligan.
Ronnie Patton, a third generation dairy farmer from Laurel County, was also on hand for the news conference at the Winchester food bank warehouse. “It will help us in a way that we can move more produce, more milk and get it in the hands of the people who need it the most. For individual farms, we will not see that much of an affect other than moving more product,” noted Patton.
Agriculture Commissioner Quarles says there are almost 600 dairy farms in Kentucky providing 122 million gallons of milk annually.