Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers in Montgomery and Pulaski counties recently raised $4,500 to purchase milk for a local outreach center.
The group raised enough to provide the All About Jesus Outreach and Help Center with 30 gallons of milk per week for an entire year.
“Milk is healthy and full of protein, calcium and essential nutrients, and we decided as an agriculture group to raise money to donate milk so families can have fresh milk in their refrigerators,” explained Casey Phillips, a Montgomery dairy farmer. He and his wife, Stacey Phillips, are VFBF Young Farmers Committee district co-chairmen.
The Phillipses also grow sweet corn and donated corn to the outreach center in 2015. Staff there mentioned the rarity of receiving fresh and perishable items, and, upon researching the situation, Stacey Phillips found that fresh milk is food pantries’ least-donated item.
“Being part of the Young Farmers Committee, I thought this was a great opportunity to present the idea and make a group effort to change this and donate milk,” she said. “We have been really pleased with the participation of our community. While taking on this great project, we’ve been able to promote agriculture and milk and begin conversations to correct agriculture misconceptions.”
The group raised the money by placing donation boxes in Montgomery- and Pulaski-area grocery stores and other businesses throughout June 2016, and by selling raffle tickets.
“I’m very glad I was able to be a part of the milk drive, because it is a great way to not only positively impact the community, but also to connect with so many people,” said Deanna Reid, a Montgomery Farm Bureau Young Farmer. “It has been very inspiring for me to see how willing the community has been to help make sure others have access to milk.”