SOUTH EDMENSTON, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Chobani has kicked off its participation in the State’s Nourish New York Initiative at a Food Drive on Long Island Friday.

The initiative, launched last week by the governor, is providing $25 million to food banks for the purchase of surplus agricultural products from New York State farms to distribute to populations who need them most.

The first event took place on Friday on Long Island, where the Island Harvest Food Bank held a drive-through food distribution event to provide New York grown and produced products to 3,000 families impacted by the coronavirus.

Each family got meal kits that included Chobani greek yogurt cups.

Chobani President Peter McGuinness tells NewsChannel 9, “We’re a yogurt company so we’re under no illusions that we can solve this huge problem but I think if everyone just helps do their part we’d be in a better place.”

Through Nourish New York Chobani is helping struggling dairy farmers Upstate find a market for their milk.

With schools and restaurants closed farmers have excess milk, so much they were considering dumping it, or in many cases have been giving it away.

McGuinness says, “We were founded in Upstate New York, in South Edmeston and so very important and we have a lot of people who work in our factory in South Edmeston that are sons and daughters of dairy farmers.”

He says it takes three cups of milk for every one cup of Chobani’s protein and probiotic packed cup of Greek yogurt.

“I think it’s more about community now than ever, so the second piece of this that is really amazing is that it’s going to help New Yorkers out, and New Yorkers that are in need right now,” McGuinness says.

Thursday Chobani sent out its first tractor-trailer from its Otsego County plant full of 133,000 cases of its Greek yogurt. It went to the Food Bank drive-thru on Long Island.

“There’s always a lot of pride up there because they love what they do, but there’s a little extra pride today,” McGuinness adds.

The State’s other food banks are each holding similar events in the coming days, continuing to bring food to those who need it most while supporting New York farmers.

Distributed products included New York dairy, produce, and meat that was purchased by Island Harvest through funding that they received from Nourish NY. Products included:

  • 14,000 units of yogurt from Chobani (Norwich, New York)
  • 3,500 units of mozzarella from Galbani Cheese (Buffalo, New York
  • 7,000 pounds of Ruby Frost apples from Hudson River Fruit Distributors (Milton, New York)
  • 3,500 pounds of hot dogs and sausages from Lucki 7 Livestock Farm (Rodman, New York)
  • 3,500 gallons of milk from Queensboro Farms (Canastota, New York)
  • 3,500 units of greens from Satur Farms (Cutchogue, New York)
  • 14,000 units of New York Juice Co. grape juice from Splendid Blend (Great Neck, New York)
  • 3,500 pounds of onions, 7,000 pounds of potatoes, and 3,500 heads of cabbage from Torrey Farms (Elba, New York)

Hudson River Fruit Distributors, Lucki 7 Livestock Farm, Satur Farms, Chobani, and New York Juice Co. are also part of the New York State Grown & Certified program, which indicates that they have been certified for safe food handling and environmental stewardship.

Many other events are planned across the State by each of New York’s 10 food banks and will be held in the coming days. These include: