Dairy Month is a time to celebrate all things dairy, especially dairy heroes in our community.
Taking care of Nevadans is something our farmers have been doing for generations. It’s just The Milky Way. It’s so important to them to create wholesome, nutritious, and delicious dairy products our community can enjoy year-round. These local heroes work day-in and day-out, with their only goal being to provide for us and the community as a whole.
When the Coronavirus pandemic began to strain food banks in Las Vegas due to the increasing amount of people in need, our farmers knew they had to help. An initiative to get dairy into the hands of those who needed it was quickly put together. Ponderosa Dairy in conjunction with Three Square Food Bank donated the milk, while Meadow Gold in conjunction with Dairy Management West donated the processing. Dairy Management, INC, and National Dairy Council donated a refrigerated truck from On the Go Marketing. Three Square Food Bank also set up multiple food distribution sites to hand it out, as our own nutritionists, Jennifer Cuozzo and Jake Yarberry, helped to coordinate the entire operation.
This initiative started in April and in each week since, 2,500 gallons of milk have been allocated across four food distribution sites, four days a week, for a total of over 10,000 gallons of milk. Milk is one of the most requested, but least donated items at food banks. It contains nine essential nutrients and is the number one food source for three out of four nutrients of concern in the U.S. Dietary Guidelines: calcium, vitamin D, and potassium. In addition, Dairy West provided 2,100 one-pound bags of cheese curds, 1,874 Dannon OIKOS plain 32 oz. yogurts, and 8,640 one-pound packages of butter that were able to be added to the refrigerated truck going to food banks, food pantries, and school feeding sites.
“We grew up in Las Vegas, so it means a lot to us to be able to provide milk to families in need. Milk is a staple item in people’s homes and supplies important nutrients like protein, calcium, vitamin D, and potassium – nutrients that many adults and children lack in their diets. We are fortunate for Ponderosa Dairies here in Southern Nevada who graciously provided milk to Three Square Food Bank to help fight food insecurity among families and child hunger during the coronavirus pandemic. It feels good to know that families will have milk for their cereal and throughout the day not only when they need it, but when they want it.” — Jennifer Cuozzo and Jake Yarberry
It really takes a village, and ours is pretty amazing! We can’t thank our community heroes enough. We are so proud to be the guardians of our favorite galaxy, protecting The Milky Way of life.