Pa. dairy farmers strive to end statewide hunger

HARRISBURG — Dairy Month in Pennsylvania is being observed through the annual “Farm Show in June” celebration.

Teaming up with Feeding Pennsylvania food banks, corporate partners and the public, Pennsylvania dairy farmers are calling for all Pennsylvanians to join them to help end hunger statewide through the Fill a Glass with Hope initiative, the first statewide charitable fresh milk program in the U.S. that offers fresh milk to families in need.

Every $1 donation provides, on average, eight glasses of fresh milk and will be distributed to clients through Feeding PA and its statewide network of food banks.

“Choosing Pennsylvania milk is good for the health of our people and communities, and giving back through the ‘Fill a Glass with Hope’ campaign is even better,” Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding said in a statement.

To help alleviate hunger, Pennsylvania’s dairy industry and charitable food assistance organizations partnered to launch Fill a Glass with Hope in 2015. To date, the campaign has raised more than $1 million and provided more than 7 million servings of fresh milk across the state.

“There’s nothing better on a hot June day than sipping one of our fresh, delicious milkshakes,” Dave Smith, executive director of the Pa. Dairymen’s Association, said in a statement.

“We’re proud to celebrate the vital contribution our dairy farmers make to growing healthier communities and a vibrant economy in Pennsylvania’s rural communities. And, with all of us teaming up, we are helping to pour fresh milk across our state to families in need,” he said.

Meanwhile, state dairy leaders and farmers have launched a new series of statewide public service announcements and billboards that encourage Pennsylvanians to enjoy the tremendous health benefits of consuming real dairy milk and support the state’s 6,500 dairy farm families.

The PSAs and billboards direct consumers to a new website — www.Choose — that lists places to purchase Pennsylvania milk and Pennsylvania preferred brands. The website also offers a information on the nutritional benefits of milk. The website includes the positive economic impact of Pennsylvania dairy farming on rural communities across the commonwealth.

“We are proud to share with Pennsylvanians the powerful message that consuming Pa. milk helps build strong bodies and healthier communities,” Jayne Sebright, executive director of the Center for Dairy Excellence, said in a statement.