The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farmers to Families Food Box Program has distributed over 50 million food boxes in support of American farmers and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic across the U.S. In Graves County, Ky., more than 1,000 were fed with the help of the USDA multi-billion dollar coronavirus program on Thursday.
Families in Graves County drove away with free dairy boxes and produce from the distribution event at the Mayfield-Graves County Fairground yesterday. The Kentucky Dairy Development Council and the Purchase Area Development District (PADD) partnered together and with the help of other agencies planned the event.
The distribution yesterday took place during a mostly rainy day but that didn't stop Graves County residents from showing up. Some even showed up several hours before distribution started.
Cars were lined up and they never stopped, according to one of the volunteers. Members of the community were ready for their dairy boxes and produce.
There were volunteers from different local agencies as well. All were busy throughout the day moving boxes around and packing up cars with the goods. Boxes were filled to the top with dairy products and produce.
In order to get the produce, PADD partnered with Feeding Kentucky and the Farm to Food Banks program. Kentucky has a ‘seconds’ program where farmers that aren’t able to send products to market can sell to agencies like Feeding Kentucky for distribution. Communities across the state of Kentucky are able to receive food items purchased for free.
Feeding Kentucky is an organization that works toward ending hunger for the one in six Kentuckians, including 200,000 children, who don’t always have food for the table. They provide fresh, healthy products to Kentuckians in need while reducing losses to farmers.
The Kentucky Dairy Development Council is the agency helping to distribute products throughout the state. Mayfield/Graves is the 14th distribution site across the state of Kentucky since starting in late June.
Dairy farmers have seen the need first hand during their travels and realize the effect they’re having on people’s lives and in turn, how people's lives affect the dairy farmer’s life. Since the pandemic, the dairy industry has struggled. This new program is giving them a much needed boost.
Both the needy and the dairy farmers are helping each other. The farmers need consumers and consumers need the dairy.
The boxes weigh approximately 30 pounds each. There were 1,320 dairy boxes distributed yesterday and 20,800 pounds of produce. The boxes contained two gallons of 2% milk, two pints each of strawberry and chocolate milk, cream cheese, cottage cheese, and french onion dip.
The USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box Program is divided by region. In the South, there are two main processors - Prairie Farms and Borden Dairy. Both got a government contract to purchase and process milk. Thanks to the program, the government paid for all of it.
If you missed the event, either contact the PADD or your local food bank.