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In 2016, Fill a Glass with Hope® became the first statewide charitable fresh milk program in the country, and has provided more than 34 million servings of milk to families in need. Feeding Pennsylvania and their nine-member food banks solicited sponsors to kick-start the 2023 campaign (all donors listed below), raising a record of over $201,000. Funds will be used to purchase fresh milk at a reduced price from their local dairy processors. Sponsors included four $25,000 Keystone sponsors: Columbia Gas and the NiSource Foundation, Coterra Energy, FirstEnergy Foundation and Weis Markets.
“This fundraiser could not come at a more critical time, with soaring food prices and the inflation rate at its highest in 40 years, many Pennsylvanians are facing impossible choices between buying food and paying for other necessities like medication or utilities,” said Jane Clements, Chief Executive Officer of Feeding Pennsylvania. "On behalf of our member food banks, we are thankful for the generous sponsors who continue to ensure that we can provide fresh milk to our neighbors in need, and grateful to have our own Congressman Thompson supporting us here in PA and in Washington.”
Secretary Russell Redding praised the hardworking dairy farmers who make up the largest segment of Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry, and the 5,200 dairy farm families that provide wholesome, nutritious dairy products for consumers, the hungry, and the state’s charitable food system.
“Feeding Pennsylvania, PA Dairymen’s Association and American Dairy Association North East have been creative and resourceful partners in meeting the needs of Pennsylvania families who struggle with food security,” said Redding. “There is no acceptable level of hunger, especially in a state with such incredible bounty. Thank you for your tenacity in working toward the goal of everyone in Pennsylvania having a place to turn to put food on their tables.”
Former NFL star Torrey Smith (Philadelphia Eagles, Baltimore Ravens) noted his appreciation of the program and its impact on children. “Thanks to Fill a Glass with Hope® and with everyone’s help – from our dairy farmers to our food banks, to the sponsors – we can work together to get fresh milk to people in need. Fresh milk has become increasingly available at food pantries across Pennsylvania, giving kids and their parents another great choice, which is power packed.”
Dave Smith, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association, commented on the importance of this charitable program to dairy farmers and their families.
“With rising prices and inflationary pressures affecting all of us, I am proud that Pennsylvania’s dairy farmers are committed to providing fresh milk to Fill a Glass with Hope® for our neighbors in need. At times like this, each of us must rally behind the heritage of this great commonwealth which is rooted in giving back and uplifting all who need assistance. Our dairy products, cultivated with love and pride, help alleviate some of the food insecurity Pennsylvanians face while providing much needed nutrition and comfort, especially during the winter ahead,” Smith said.
Crawford County residents Jeff Raney and his wife Brenda are first-generation dairy farmers. They raise 60 cows at J-RA Holsteins in Adamsville, Pa. He explained why they and their children, the next generation of food producers, support Fill a Glass with Hope®.
“Pennsylvania Dairy farmers believe that all Pennsylvanians should have access to the nutrition of fresh milk to power them through their day. The Fill a Glass with Hope® program ensures that food insecure families have access to the essential nutrients that milk provides—that’s why we are thrilled to support this amazing program,” Raney added.
Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson, who was recently named chair of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee, applauded the dairy industry and food banks for this meaningful partnership and offered his support, even though he was unable to attend.
“As the number one ag commodity in the Commonwealth, dairy is critically important to Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry. The nutritional value that milk offers, particularly to growing children, is undeniable. I’m pleased to join Feeding Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Dairymen for the Fill a Glass with Hope event to support both our dairy farmers and our neighbors in need.”
A celebratory “Orange Cream” milkshake toast to honor PA Dairymen’s Association’s 70th Birthday of providing their legen-dairy milkshakes at the PA Farm Show capped off the exciting launch. Also in attendance were Feeding PA food bank leaders, PA Dairy Princess Royalty, government leaders, sponsors, dairy industry leaders and PA’s popular celebrities Nancy & Newman.
Funding collected in donation containers at the PA Dairymen’s Association Milkshake Booth will support Fill a Glass with Hope®. Stop by today or donate to at www.feedingpa.org/milk.
Columbia Gas and the NiSource Foundation, Coterra Energy, FirstEnergy Foundation, Weis Markets, Land O’ Lakes, Coca-Cola, Horizon Farm Credit, Giant Company, NJM Insurance, PSECU, Southwestern Energy, Pennsylvania Dairymen's Association, Swiss Dairy Premium, Valley Grange, Pennsylvania Dairy Princess, Modjeski and Masters, Shenango Valley Foundation, Fulton Financial, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, Turner Dairy Farms, Wilson Trust Fund, Penn Ag Industries.
Feeding Pennsylvania is a partnership formed among Pennsylvania’s Feeding America member food banks. Collective efforts promote and aid members in securing food and other resources to reduce hunger and food insecurity for their communities and across Pennsylvania, and provide a shared voice on the issues of hunger and food access. Member food banks serve nearly 2 million people annually by distributing more than 164 million pounds of food through a network of more than 3,000 agencies. In 2016, each member food bank became licensed as a charitable milk sub-dealer by the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board, allowing them to purchase milk from dairies at a reduced price in a program called Fill a Glass with Hope®.
To donate to Fill a Glass with Hope®, visit www.feedingpa.org/milk.