Brooklyn, CT – On Wednesday morning, June 3rd, 1,550 gallons of milk were sent from the Guida’s Dairy facility in New Britain, owned and operated by the dairy cooperative Dairy Farmers of America, to the Brooklyn Middle School where area non-profits and local service agencies picked up and distributed their portion of the donated milk.
This donation effort was driven by the dairy farm families of Connecticut who recognize and embrace their role in supporting their communities during both good and challenging times. Local dairy farmers partnered with the Thompson Ecumenical Empowerment Group (TEEG) on this donation and distribution effort. TEEG brought to the table their partners which include local school districts, hospitals, community kitchens, and more.
“What we did today was supply 1,550 gallons of milk to families with children in the Northeast corner of Connecticut, probably 50 gallons of that will go to seniors and single-person households, but other than that, it’s all going to children who need this nutrition,” explained Anne Miller, Executive Director, TEEG. “The need is deep and it’s wide, this will go very far towards helping people. And just knowing we may get to do this again is huge to us.”
Food pantries across Connecticut, the region, and the nation have seen a tremendous increase in the numbers of individuals and families they’re serving as states and communities have adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic. In Connecticut, 1 in 9 people struggles with hunger. That number is 1 in 6 for children.
Efforts like the distribution which happened Wednesday morning not only puts a nutritious food source in the hands of families in need, it helps secure a market for dairy farmers’ milk. This donation event supplied a week’s worth of milk to families in need in the greater Windham County area.
While the milk is ultimately free for those families in need, there are still costs associated with processing, packaging and delivering the milk. To cover those costs, Jon Hermonot of Fairholm Farm in Woodstock, CT reached out to area businesses who donated more than $7,000 to cover costs. Dairy Farmers of America contributed $1,500 towards that total amount through their DFA Cares Foundation. This donation and distribution event wouldn’t have happened without this community support.
“There’s definitely a need in our Northeast communities, across the state really, for food and milk,” stated dairy farmer Jon Hermonot, Fairholm Farm. “Being able to team-up with TEEG, this amazing local, non-profit, and with our local businesses who have sponsored, it just feels good. Those of us who can give back, should do so. Helping families in need is a great cause and hopefully we can continue to do this.”
Hermonot, TEEG, and other dairy farm families of Connecticut hope to build upon this momentum with other community funded donation efforts in the future.
Windham County area organizations who received milk include:
- Brooklyn Public Schools
- Daily Bread (Putnam)
- Day Kimball Hospital
- EASTCONN Educational Service Center
- First Congregational Woodstock
- Killingly Schools
- Project PIN
- Putnam Schools
- TEEG Youth
- Thompson Schools
- Woodstock Schools
- Hanfield & Franklin Food Pantries
TEEG (Thompson Ecumenical Empowerment Group) is a small grassroots non-profit social service agency in North Grosvenordale, CT. We began in 1985 as a group of volunteers that joined together to meet the needs of “Three Rows”, the largest mill village in the North Grosvenordale section of Thompson.
About Fairholm Farm
Fairholm Farm is owned and operated by the Hermonot family which has been farming for four generations in Woodstock. With a milking herd just north of 400, the family prides itself on providing the highest level of care for their cows. They grow about 800 acres of corn silage and haylage. In 2018, Fairholm Farm was named Connecticut Dairy Farm of the Year. The award is given every year to one outstanding dairy farm in each of the New England states as part of the Green Pasture Award program.
About New England Dairy
New England Dairy’s mission is to champion the region’s farm families and the nutritious foods they produce. The non-profit organization does this by sharing the New England dairy story, connecting people to dairy farms, supporting youth wellness in schools and delivering the latest nutrition and sustainability science to health professionals, scientists, media, nutrition professionals and educators.
The Connecticut Milk Promotion Board, administered by the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, was established in 2008. The board consists of nine appointed members and is charged with developing, coordinating and implementing promotional, research and other programs designed to promote Connecticut dairy farms and milk consumption.