Leftover Milk from Governor’s Forum on Colorado Agriculture Goes to the Needy
Western Dairy always provides milk for attendees of the Governor’s Forum on Colorado Agriculture – it is tasty, protein-filled and helps keep tummies full and taste buds happy. This year, Western Dairy had the opportunity to work with We Don’t Waste, EPA Region 8 and the Renaissance Denver Stapleton Hotel to donate any un-opened, leftover milk to the Arvada Community Food Bank.
“When we were approached by EPA Region 8 and We Don’t Waste about donating leftover milk, it was a no-brainer,” said Western Dairy’s Manager of Farmer and Industry Relations Scot Dutcher. “No one wants to see milk go to waste!”
Donating the milk was made easy because it was a shelf-stable product, which means it doesn’t have to stay refrigerated during transport or storage. Shelf-stable milk is still real milk, but it has been pasteurized and packaged differently so it can be stored at room temperature and not spoil.
“I am so excited about this food donation because it’s a great example of how we can work together to improve and maximize the mutual benefits of the rural-urban interface as it relates to agriculture,” said Recycling Specialist Virginia Till, EPA Region 8. “This positive activity was a result of folks having those ever-important ‘eyeball to eyeball’ conversations, asking questions, listening to each other and making things happen for a clear win-win!”
In total, 450 servings of milk were donated to a sector (food banks) that receives less than a gallon of milk per person per year. And with hunger affecting 1 in 6 Americans, the need for nutrient-rich food in our nation’s food banks and pantries is greater than ever.
“The shelf stable milk was a terrific donation as many agencies do not have the refrigerated capacity to take large quantities of milk, especially food pantries as they do not often receive milk and certainly rarely receive shelf stable milk.” said Arlan Preblud, Executive Director of We Don’t Waste.
Preblud’s nonprofit, We Don’t Waste, is dedicated to rescuing food throughout the Denver Metro area and making sure it goes to those in need. They work with venues, caterers, restaurants and other food purveyors to distribute unused food to underserved populations. We Don’t Waste is part of EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge and regularly works with them to increase awareness about food waste in Denver.
“The amount of milk we distribute is never sufficient to meet the demands of food pantries as well as agencies who provide meals directly to clients,” said Preblud.
“Our dairy farm families continue to be dedicated to helping underserved populations get access to milk and dairy foods,” said Western Dairy President and CEO Cindy French. “This donation was particularly important because the milk might have been wasted if it was not donated – preventing food waste of any kind is so important and we were proud to do our part. In fact, we have been helping families in our region fight hunger and food waste for over 80 years.”