PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — Local dairy farmers have a surplus of milk right now, and instead of dumping it, they are passing it out to families in need.
More than a dozen groups including the New England farm members of the Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) and Vanguard Renewables are donating 4,300 gallons of milk to Providence and Pawtucket families on Wednesday at McCoy Stadium.
“People right now are struggling on many different levels,” Rose Amoros Jones of the RI Office of Healthy Aging said. “It [Pawtucket] is also one of the hardest-hit communities by COVID-19.”
Thirty members of the National Guard were on hand to help place two gallons of milk, produce, and a mix of other groceries that were all donated.
Hundreds of cars lined up almost three hours before milk started being handed out at the 9 a.m. start time.
“When you see people that have been here since 5:45 in the morning it pulls at the heartstrings,” Co-Founder of Vanguard Renewables said.
“DFA farm members in New England wanted to get milk to people who desperately need food and they asked Vanguard for help,” said Kevin Chase, Co-founder and Chief Investment Officer of Vanguard Renewables. “For Vanguard Renewables, supporting community is core to our mission so we were happy to make this Farmers Feeding Families milk donation event happen for Providence and Pawtucket residents.”
COVID-19 has brought challenges to many industries, including dairy. With many restaurants and schools closed, dairy farmers can’t sell all of their milk.
Access to food is also a challenge for many in these trying times and DFA members in New England have come together to donate milk to people in need.
“This means a lot to me especially since I have a new born and unfortunately I am not working so all this just means a lot I don’t have to go out to the grocery store or anything like that,” one attendee said.
The distribution will end at 2 p.m. or until the milk is gone. It is on a first-come, first-serve basis.
All participants must wear a face covering and adhere to social distancing guidelines.