New England Dairy Farmers & Partners Support Worcester Families in Need

Rene Thibault| View Author Bio

(Worcester, MA) As part of the ‘Home Fridge Advantage’ initiative between New England Dairy, dairy farmers of the region, New England Patriots’ Defensive Lineman Chase Winovich, and 98.5 The Sports Hub: Patriots Radio Network – 100 gallons of milk are being donated to St John’s Food for the Poor Program in Worcester, MA.  Food banks and hunger relief organizations continue to experience a significant increase in the need for nutritious foods, like milk, and strive to make sure millions of people have access to the food they need.

The Home Fridge Advantage promotion was launched in 2020 to coincide with the Patriots’ season as a way for New England Dairy to engage partners, build awareness of the need for milk, and give back to the region’s communities.  For each New England Patriot regular season home game, a food pantry was selected as the recipient of at least 100 gallons of milk to be distributed within their community.

Staying grounded to the challenges and situations that continue to be caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it was strongly felt milk donations should be a part of the campaign.  Milk remains one of the most requested, yet least donated items at American Food Banks according to Feeding America.  The fluid milk donation to St John’s Food for the Poor Program will increase the campaign total to over 600 gallons.

“We would like to thank New England Dairy, local dairy farmers and their partners for their generous donation of milk to the St. John’s Food for the Poor Program through the Home Fridge Advantage Initiative.  We continue to be visited by an increased number of neighbors who come to us seeking physical and spiritual nourishment,” explain Bill Riley, Manager of the St. Francis Xavier Center – where the program is administered.  “This generous donation of milk will help to serve these sisters and brothers in need.  Support from our local dairy community also offers encouragement to the volunteers who come each day to provide both food and friendship to our guests.  May your kindness and concern for the poor be returned in many blessings for you and your loved ones.”

The fluid milk donation to St. Johns was an opportunity to help boost the organization’s community feeding program.  Volunteers at St. Johns Food for the Poor program serve up to 700 hot meals a day, five days a week. In addition to weekday meals, we offer over 20 important programs including services such as a free medical clinic, job matching, and food assistance.

Over the course of the three month initiative, more than 800 gallons of milk will have been donated to food pantries across New England.  Those milk donations are made possible by regional dairy farmers and local dairy processors who have been supporting local schools for more than a century.  Thursday’s donation in Worcester is made possible by Oakhurst Dairy own and operated by the dairy cooperative Dairy Farmers of America (DFA).

Area Dairy farmer Randy Jordan also attended the milk donation.  The Jordan family milks 300 cows and cares for nearly 1000 acres of land in central Massachusetts.  Their farm is a member-owner of Dairy Farmers of America (DFA).  “As a DFA farmer it’s inspiring to see milk that our farm produced ending up back in our community.  We’re proud to create a nutritious food source and we’re proud to help support those in need,” stated Jordan.

“Efforts like these speak to the essence of farming in New England.  Our dairy farms are a vibrant part of their communities.  They seek out opportunities to enhance, enrich, and improve as many aspects of local life as possible.  Nutrition and healthy eating are near and dear to their hearts,” explained Diane Krol RD, LDN, Manager Youth Wellness, New England Dairy.

It’s projected that more than 50 million Americans may need food assistance from food banks and food pantries across the country.  In Worcester, 1 in 8 individuals does not know where their next meal will come from; and 1 in 6 children do not always have enough to eat.

Food pantries in Worcester, MA and Barre, VT respectively – will be the final two communities to receive milk donations – the hometowns of New England Dairy’s Fuel Up to Play 60 Student Ambassadors.  These local students work to elevate the focus on, and importance of, eating healthy and staying active – both pillars of the Fuel Up to Play 60 program.

Dairy farms are the lifeblood of many communities throughout New England, creating jobs, investing in the local economy, and supporting childhood health and education.  Milk and other dairy foods can plan an important role in overall health and wellness.  Eating three daily servings of dairy foods like milk, cheese, or yogurt can help close key nutrient gaps and contribute to nutrient-rich, healthy eating patterns.  Milk provides a unique package of 9 essential nutrients including calcium, potassium and Vitamin D – a nutritional powerhouse for families and students.

About St. Johns Food for the Poor Program

Their Mission: “Helping others and reaching out to the poor and the hungry.”   St. John’s Food for the Poor Program at the unique St. Francis Xavier Center in Worcester, Massachusetts is a nonprofit charitable organization. Volunteers serve up to 700 hot nutritious meals a day, five days a week. Free food and support programs are available to any man, woman or child in need of food regardless of race, color, creed, gender or way of life.

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.

About Oakhurst

Oakhurst is Northern New England’s leading dairy brand and has stood behind every glass of milk and product for 99 years. While the FDA states there is no significant difference between milk from cows treated with artificial growth hormone, Oakhurst made history in 2003 when it asked its milk producers to take America’s First Farmer’s pledge not to use artificial growth hormone. Today, Oakhurst remains committed to the wellbeing of its community through its Giving Goodness charitable donations to local organizations that support healthy, active kids and a healthy environment. The company produces milk and other dairy and juice products from its headquarters on Forest Avenue in Portland, Maine. In January 2014, Oakhurst became a wholly owned subsidiary of Dairy Farmers of America, a dairy farmer-owned cooperative based in Kansas City, Missouri. For more information, visit oakhurstdairy.com.

About Fuel Up to Play 60

Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by National Dairy Council (NDC) and National Football League (NFL), with additional partnership support from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The program encourages youth to consume nutrient-rich foods (low-fat and fat-free dairy, fruits, vegetables and whole grains) and achieve at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day.

Fuel Up to Play 60 is designed to engage and empower youth to take action for their own health by implementing long-term, positive changes for themselves and their schools. Customizable and non-prescriptive program components are grounded in research with youth, including tools and resources, in-school promotional materials, a website and student challenges. Fuel Up to Play 60 is further supported by several health and nutrition organizations: Action for Healthy Kids, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, National Hispanic Medical Association, National Medical Association and School Nutrition Association. Visit FuelUpToPlay60.com to learn more.

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