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Free milk pouring into Blair County

MARTINSBURG — More than 4,000 of gallons of milk arrived in Blair County on Tuesday and will be distributed to local families through food pantries, churches and shelters as a result of a collaboration between the Blair County Farm Bureau, local dairy farmer Jennifer Heltzel of Martinsburg, a board member of the Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program, and the American Dairy Association North East.

Heltzel and Pennsylvania Farm Bureau Regional Director Joseph Diamond worked with American Dairy Association North East to use Coronavirus Food Assistance Program grant money to purchase milk from Clover Farms Dairy. Farm Bureau coordinated the distribution of milk through 23 local organizations.

“These groups are the boots on the ground in this area and they serve the most vulnerable in the community. While milk is one of the most requested items by families, it is one of the least donated as it is perishable,” Heltzel said.

“Organizations that provide food assistance are under enormous stress due to increased need resulting from consequences of the pandemic,” Heltzel said. “I’m grateful to be able to coordinate milk assistance for families and so many seniors throughout the community with the help of such strong partners.”

The perishability issue was resolved when Imler’s Poultry of Duncansville offered to receive the trailer load of milk at its loading docks and store the milk in its refrigerated warehouse until local groups can pick it up for distribution.

Imler’s staff is pitching in to help unload and load milk for the local organizations.

Participating groups are:

— Maybrook Hills Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, Altoona.

— Mountain Lion BackPack Program, Altoona.

— Nehemiah Project, Altoona.

— St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank, Altoona.

— American Rescue Mission, Hollidaysburg.

— Tyrone Food Bank, Tyrone.

— Clover Creek Church of the Brethren, Martinsburg.

— Martinsburg Food Pantry, Martinsburg.

— Homewood at Martinsburg, Martinsburg.

— St. John’s UCC, Martinsburg.

— Martinsburg Grace Brethren Church, Martinsburg.

— Memorial Church of the Brethren, Martinsburg.

— Diehl’s Crossroad Church of the Brethren, Curryville.

— New Life Church, East Freedom.

— Jacob’s Way, East Freedom.

— Trinity United Methodist Church, Roaring Spring.

— Roaring Spring Food Pantry, Roaring Spring.

— Gallitzin United Methodist Church, Gallitzin.

— Round Knob Church of God, Six Mile Run.

— Williamsburg Food Bank, Williamsburg.

— Crossroads Ministry, Williamsburg.

— Williamsburg Senior Center, Williamsburg.

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