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Extension Teams with Prairie Farms to Provide Milk to Pantries
Illinois Ag Connection - 06/05/2020

Purdue Extension is partnering with Prairie Farms, headquartered in Edwardsville, Ill., to distribute gallons of milk to those in need as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farmers to Families Food Box Program. Through the program, USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is purchasing fresh produce, dairy and meat products from national, regional and local suppliers affected by COVID-19 to provide to food pantries and non-profits. The program began May 15 and ends June 30.

Due to Purdue Extension's broad presence in all 92 Indiana counties, Purdue Extension educators have coordinated milk redistribution from Prairie Farms to local food banks and non-profits across the state. Over 2,000 gallons of milk have been distributed in the past two weeks to food deserts in Delaware and surrounding counties. More milk is scheduled to arrive in the coming weeks.

Laurynn Thieme, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Purdue Extension - Delaware County, spearheaded the program in Delaware County by reaching out to Prairie Farms representatives to arrange milk deliveries and pick-ups with local food pantries. She can discuss how she led the program into action and her experiences of delivering milk to area food pantries.

Lindsey Cox, NEP Community Wellness Coordinator Purdue Extension -- Delaware and Blackford Counties, cochairs on the Delaware County Food Council and assisted with coordinating milk requests with area food pantries and non-profits. She continues to contact non-profits and schools in the surrounding counties to reach more people in need.

Melinda Duckett, NEP Community Wellness Coordinator, Purdue Extension - Hendricks, Putnam and Parke Counties, led the coordination between the Hendricks County Food Pantry Coalition and Prairie Farms by providing an inventory of local milk needs and setting up drop-off locations. She also coordinated with food pantries and non-profits in Putnam and Parke counties.

Cory Tonnsen, account manager at Prairie Farms, worked with numerous Purdue Extension Educators to deliver milk supplies to various pick up locations and farmers' markets, including the Downtown Lafayette Farmers Market.

Josh Gruver, associate professor of environment, geology, and natural resources at Ball State University and cochair on the Delaware County Food Council, assisted Purdue Extension - Delaware County by providing cold storage and leadership for the distribution of milk through the Muncie Food Hub Partnership and Mobile Market.

Jacqueline Hanoman, director of Ross Community Center, worked closely with Purdue Extension -- Delaware County to arrange a milk delivery for the community center. She can discuss how Purdue Extension connected the center with the milk distribution and how this has affected people in need in her community.

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