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Dairy Pricing Association donates cheese to Wisconsin food banks

GENEROUS DONATION: Two donations totaling more than 70,000 pounds of cheese are being provided free of charge by the Dairy Pricing Association for Wisconsin families.
Donations total more than $125,000 worth of cheese.

Editor's note: This is a letter to the editor of Wisconsin Agriculturist.

Hunger is tough in the heart of America’s Dairyland. Across Wisconsin, from urban to rural regions, more than 276,000 households face food insecurity. In Milwaukee, the nation’s second-poorest major city, over 50,000 people receive help each month from local pantries and meal programs. 

In October, the Dairy Pricing Association reached out to Hunger Task Force — Milwaukee’s "Free & Local" food bank and the state’s leading anti-hunger organization — to make a donation of cheese: 30,588 pounds of white cheddar, valued at over $50,000! This cheese was purchased from Good Home Foods LLC brokerage firm located in Chicago, with the cheese stored at a warehouse in Reeseville.

Dairy producers from 10 states came together to make this huge purchase possible. The Dairy Pricing Association works with dairy producers to reduce burdensome inventories by buying back product, removing it from the marketplace, and providing it to those who would otherwise never have the opportunity to consume it. The organization’s mission is to promote domestically produced dairy products and to establish the minimum prices in the industry, while maintaining levels of milk production that meet the needs of consumers. 

While Wisconsin may be famous for its cheese, the need for such a high-quality item among our food-insecure households is tremendous. Therefore, Hunger Task Force quickly worked to repackage the cheese from 40-pound blocks into small 2-pound blocks for easy distribution at local pantries and meal programs. The cheese was delivered to local food pantries and meal programs in Milwaukee, which serve more than 50,000 people each month. The cheese is also being shuttled to eight additional sites across Wisconsin, including members of the Hunger Relief Federation, a statewide association of independent food banks and emergency food organizations. These organizations all believe in the Free & Local mission of service to their communities.

Hunger Task Force was excited to learn that the Dairy Pricing Association made yet another 40,000-pound cheese purchase in December — with an impressive value of $76,000 — to donate to Hunger Task Force. In January, Hunger Task Force will pick up this cheese from Nasonville Dairy in Marshfield and will distribute it in the same manner. These cheese donations, provided free of charge by the Dairy Pricing Association, will be distributed free of charge to qualified local food pantries, putting a healthy staple on the table for local families and children.

Hunger Task Force is grateful to the farmer-members of the Dairy Pricing Association for their foresight and support of Free & Local in Wisconsin! We would encourage all dairy farmers to consider being a part of this worthy cause and “help themselves by helping others.”

— Sherrie Tussler, executive director, Hunger Task Force


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