Article courtesy of Dairy Farmers of America
On November 12, 2021, Agriculture Commissioner Bryan P. Hurlburt, Connecticut Foodshare President & CEO Jason Jakubowski, and Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) cooperative member Jon Hermonot visited Goodwin University’s Ann B. Clark Community Co-op in East Hartford for a commercial refrigeration and check donation ceremony as part of the DFA Cares Farmers Feeding Families Fund initiative to address food insecurity.
“Milk provides 13 essential nutrients, however, due to lack of storage it is often unavailable for those experiencing food insecurity,” said Hurlburt. “Throughout the pandemic our state’s dairy farmers have been providing much-needed support in the way of refrigeration and product donations to assist those in need and today is a prime example of how that collaboration positively impacts our local communities.”
Earlier this month DFA and its farm family-owners donated a refrigerator to the Community Co-op at Goodwin, which is one of 21 committed across its seven regional areas throughout the U.S. The additional check donations will facilitate the equivalent of more than 225,000 servings of milk at those locations.
“As dairy farmers, we’re proud of the role that we play in helping feed families in our local community,” says Hermonot, a DFA member and local dairy farmer from Woodstock, Connecticut. “Food pantries are always in need of dairy products, yet many don’t have the cold storage to keep it stocked up, so I’m incredibly proud that we could help be a part of the solution and get refrigeration and milk to those in need right here in Connecticut.”
Food insecurity continues to be a significant problem in the United States with millions of people facing hunger each year. Here in Connecticut, statistics show that in Hartford and Tolland counties one in nine people are at risk of hunger and one in seven children are at risk.
“In the last 18-months it has been incredible to see just how strong the depths of our partnerships are. In coordination with Dairy Farmers of America and the Department of Agriculture one of our longstanding partners, the Goodwin Community Co-op, has been able to receive not only a brand-new refrigerator that will allow them to distribute more fresh, nutritious product- but an additional donation to ensure they can continue to fill that refrigerator for the rest of the year. It’s creative endeavors like these that allow us and our incredible network of partner programs to continue to meet the need in our communities,” said Jakubowski.
Recent data from Temple University’s Hope Center for College, Community and Justice study in fall 2020 found that 34% of college students experienced food insecurity 30 days prior. Furthermore, nearly one-third of college students have missed at least one meal a week during the pandemic and more than one-third know someone who has dropped out of college due to difficulties affording food.
“It’s critical to have fresh, appropriate food supplies for our community members in need, of course,” said Goodwin University president Mark Scheinberg, “but it’s equally important to deliver this kind of support without the stigma that sometimes accompanies being food insecure. The refrigerator already donated by this group along with this generous gift today will allow Goodwin to take several steps forward in providing nutritious food in an atmosphere of dignity and respect for our students and their families.”
Dairy Farmers of America, along with its employees and family farm-owners, are committed to helping fight hunger. Through its DFA Cares Farmers Feeding Families Fund, DFA is donating much-needed commercial refrigeration to community food pantries in 20 states and keeping them stocked with milk through the end of the year.
“Our farm families are deeply rooted in their local communities, and we know that hunger exists in each and every area that our Cooperative serves,” says Jackie Klippenstein, senior vice president of government, industry, and community relations. “We launched this refrigeration program last year, as milk is one of the most highly requested items at food pantries, yet many don’t have the cold storage to keep it and other perishable items stocked up. By helping provide long-term infrastructure improvements with refrigeration, we can help ensure that our neighbors in need have access to nutrient-rich milk and other dairy products.”
Shown above, l to r: Eric Emet, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs; Tyrone Black, Vice President for Student Affairs; Mark Scheinberg, President, Goodwin University; Ann Clark, Provost Emerita; Isamar Rodriguez, Community and Educational Service Learning Coordinator; Seth Bahler, CEO, Oakridge Dairy LLC; Jonathan Hermonot, Ekonk Hill Turkey Farm; Bryant P. Hurlburt, Commissioner, Connecticut Dept. of Agriculture; Jason, Jakubowski, President, Connecticut Foodshare.
About Connecticut Department of Agriculture
The Connecticut Department of Agriculture (CT DoAg) mission is to foster a healthy economic, environmental, and social climate for agriculture by developing, promoting, and regulating agricultural businesses; protecting agricultural and aquacultural resources; enforcing laws pertaining to domestic animals; and promoting an understanding among the state’s citizens of the diversity of Connecticut agriculture, its cultural heritage, and its contribution to the state’s economy. For more information, please visit CTGrown.gov.
About Connecticut Foodshare
Connecticut Foodshare is the food bank serving all of Connecticut and a member of the national Feeding America network. Last year, Connecticut Foodshare distributed enough food to provide nearly 47 million meals through a network of 700 community-based hunger relief programs, including food pantries, community kitchens, and emergency shelters, while also working on long-term solutions to food insecurity. More than 8,000 volunteers help power the work of Connecticut Foodshare. Last year, they gave more than 62,000 hours of service.
About Dairy Farmers of America
Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) is a national, farmer-owned dairy cooperative focusing on quality, innovation and the future of family dairies. While supporting and serving more than 12,500 family farm-owners, DFA manufactures a variety of dairy products, including fluid milk, cheese, butter, ice cream, dairy ingredients and more that connect our Cooperative’s family farms to family tables with regional brands such as Alta Dena® Dairy, Meadow Gold® Dairy, Friendly®’s, Borden® Cheese, Plugrá® Premium Butter and Kemps® to name a few. On a global scale, we work with some of the world’s largest food companies to develop ingredients their customers are craving, while staying committed to social responsibility and ethical farming. For more information, please visit dfamilk.com.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.