One year of food, milk drives, and the need is still there

Local News

American Dairy Association North East, representing over 10,000 dairy farmers, and Dairy Farmers of America (DFA)

ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Exactly a year ago this month, community organizations started to host food drives. To date, the American Dairy Association Northeast has given out more than 175,000 gallons of milk to Central New Yorkers.

On Tuesday, 1,000 more gallons of milk were handed out at ShoppingTown Mall during another food and milk drive. This one was in partnership with the Food Bank of CNY.

The event was supposed to start at 1 p.m., but cars starting lining up at 9 a.m. and they didn’t waste any time. Hundreds of cars started pulling up, grabbing their milk and boxes of food.

The milk is coming from government-funded grants, but the products are local, provided by Central New York farmers and processors.

This is one of 25 milk drives that has happened over the past year. Each time, the lines don’t stop growing.

This all started at the beginning of the pandemic when farmers had a surplus of milk and the community was desperate for nutrition. With restaurants and schools being closed, the market for milk and cheese products was dwindling.

While now they are no longer dumping the milk, the need is still there.

“The factors that have lead to people being in need are not really going away. So there’s going to be a long-term response to this,” said Brian McManus, Chief Operations Officers of the Food Bank of Central New York.

“It is kind of hard because once you go from one income to another kind of income, what you had there is not there anymore. And when you want to go out and get a job and there’s nothing there, it’s difficult,” said Caroline Rosado of Munnsville.

If you couldn’t make it to this food drive, call 211 for emergency food assistance.

In the boxes of food, families were given yogurt, cheese, protein items like hot dogs and chicken, as well as apples and onions. 

The farmers and processors supplying those products do get paid for their services.

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