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Food banks work to take on extra milk from farmers

Posted at 8:46 AM, Jun 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-12 09:46:32-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Many different businesses were hurt by COVID-19 and that includes area farmers, some of whom are having to make tough choices about their livestock and find ways to deal with too much milk.

Tens of thousands of gallons of milk have been thrown away. It's a scene that's just heartbreaking to watch, especially as there are many people who could use the milk.

The simple answer? Just give it to local food banks.

"The food pantry said they would love to have it," said Steve Martin, Executive Director of Agriculture in Nebraska. "Milk is their number one requested item, but they did not have the storage capacity, they didn't have cold storage. Midwest Dairy Association got some money together and was able to buy four refrigerators for four food pantries; in doing that they found about 30 more food pantries that want refrigeration."

St. Vincent Depaul in Omaha recently received their refrigerator.

"It was really helpful for us to get this refrigerator," said Marty Smith, executive director of the pantry. "It is key to what we want to provide for people, but logistically, it was impossible. Through the grace of this grant, we are now able to provide dairy products as well as fresh produce."

St. Vincent de Paul has been looking for an affordable refrigerator unit for more than a year.

"This is a great addition to our pantry," said Jerry Brocky, pantry manager. "In the past we could only give apples and oranges, but now we can give different kinds of produce from farmers or grocery stores and give them a little more variety."

The request for refrigerators kept coming in. Right now they have close to 70 applications from Nebraska food banks needing refrigerators.