Kroger expands milk donation to Kentucky food banks

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Kroger Louisville Division announced the launch of an expanded Dairy Donation Program, designed to support families during the COVID-19 pandemic and school-age children during the summer months.

In partnership with Dairy Farmers of America and farmers across the Midwest and South, including one in Winchester, Kroger will donate over 800,000 pounds of fluid milk to regional food banks and community organizations through the end of August, uplifting its Zero Hunger | Zero Waste initiative.

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“Kroger recognizes the growing need for fresh, highly nutritious food in our community, especially for children as we go into the summer months and continue to spend more time at home during the pandemic to flatten the curve,” said Erin Grant, Kroger Corporate Affairs Manager. “At a time when dairy farmers have surplus raw milk, we’re doubling down on our mission to reduce hunger and waste.”

The Dairy Donation Program is expanding on an existing partnership model between Kroger and Dairy Farmers of America to direct even more fluid milk — one of the most requested but harder to stock items at food banks — to food-insecure communities.

Through the expanded program, during the pandemic DFA will donate surplus milk normally sold to restaurants, schools and hotels, while Kroger will donate the processing and packaging of the donated milk.

Additionally, Penske Logistics will also donate the transportation of the milk to three area food banks in the Feeding America Foodbank network across the Commonwealth.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many closings across the country, some of America’s farmers are left without buyers for their supply,” said Jeff Wilkerson, Site Leader for Winchester Farms Dairy in Winchester, Ky. “Kroger’s Dairy Donation Program is an invaluable resource for the industry during this crisis, helping distribute and process its surplus milk to communities who need it the most.”

The expansion of Kroger’s Dairy Donation Program builds on the existing partnerships with Michigan Milk Producers Association and Dairy Farmers of America, which already donate 54,750 gallons and 44,000 gallons, respectively, throughout the year.

Through the expanded program — Michigan Milk Producers Association, Dairy Farmers of America and Select Milk Producers — Kroger’s dairy processing plants will be donating an additional 50,000 gallons of milk per month to local food banks and community organizations.

From May through August, Kroger’s own manufacturing facility, Winchester Farms Dairy, will process the additional donated milk to benefit several food bank organizations and communities:

  • Feeding America Kentucky’s Heartland in Elizabethtown, Kentucky
  • Dare to Care Food Bank in Louisville, Kentucky
  • God’s Pantry Food Bank in Lexington, Kentucky

Each week, Winchester Farms Dairy and Penske Logistics will deliver over 54,000 pounds — 26 pallets — of gallon milk that is then distributed by each food bank to their surrounding counties.

“With schools and daycare centers closed — and many families experiencing job loss — providing access to fresh, nourishing meals has never been more important,” said Grant. “Kroger’s Dairy Donation Program is keeping America’s farmers productive, avoiding unnecessary food waste, and ensuring our communities stay healthy and safe.”