MILWAUKEE — In celebration of World Milk Day, Hunger Task Force is announcing The Dairy Match — a match program possible thanks to a substantial $1 million donation from Aqualia International Foundation.
Throughout the month of June, Hunger Task Force challenges the public to donate to the Wisconsin Dairy Recovery Program. All donations will be matched with the goal to contribute $2M in grant support to dairy farmers, farm cooperatives and their local producers throughout Wisconsin.
After seeing the success of the Wisconsin Dairy Recovery Program, Hunger Task Force decided to direct the new $1 million Aqualia funding — in addition to the hopeful $1 million public contribution — as grant awards for members within the Hunger Relief Federation of Wisconsin.
“Hunger Task Force is truly excited to celebrate World Milk Day with the announcement of this million dollar challenge grant,” said Sherrie Tussler, executive director of Hunger Task Force. “Together with Wisconsin dairy farmers and their Wisconsin-based producers, we can increase access to fresh Wisconsin dairy products for hungry people across our fine state. We have been overwhelmed with the support we have received, and have passed along the goodness by getting milk and cheese to free, local and independent food pantries and food banks across Wisconsin. We encourage people who can give to this challenge grant to help farms and famers while also feeding the hungry.”
The initial Wisconsin Dairy Recovery Program, launched April 15, offered a unique opportunity to connect free, local and independent member organizations of the Hunger Relief Federation of Wisconsin to valuable dairy products for hungry families statewide.
To date, the program has moved 48,600 gallons of fresh Wisconsin milk and 127,250 pounds of cheese to nearly 85 statewide emergency food sites to help feed hungry families.
Hunger Task Force will use the funds raised during The Dairy Match to distribute up to $2 million worth of grants to food programs throughout Wisconsin to support the continued work of the Wisconsin Dairy Recovery Program. This funding will connect struggling dairy farmers in Wisconsin directly to the food pantry or program in their immediate area.
“It seems many communities suffer along with our tribal communities throughout this unforeseen pandemic,” said Sara Peterson, Community Health director for the Ho-Chunk Nation. “Today, a Nation was fed. Today, we were not overlooked or put last in line.
“The gratitude expressed at the distribution sites is indescribable,” she added. “The spirits of our community members have been lifted and we are extremely grateful. Pihinagigiwi (You’ve done well for us).”
The Federation is a coalition of partner food pantries and food banks who do not charge to distribute their food. Members share resources, food and best practices amongst one another. The list of participating member organizations for
“Oh, my goodness, this will definitely help us. We have three teenagers in the house,” said one dairy recipient in Manitowoc. “[Many] people from the company we worked at were let go. Going from making a decent living to no income has crushed my soul. Thank you very much.”
Additionally, several Wisconsin companies will receive funding support they need to stay afloat.
Hunger Task Force encourages swift and generous financial support from the community to match the $1 million Dairy Match.
All funds not only will bring fresh milk and cheese to struggling families across the state, but will support Wisconsin dairy farmers and small businesses that help make Wisconsin unique. Donations can be made at www.HungerTaskForce.org/dairy.
Hunger Task Force is Milwaukee’s free and local food bank and Wisconsin’s anti-hunger leader. The organization provides healthy and nutritious food to hungry children, families and seniors in the community free of charge.
Hunger Task Force was founded in 1974 by a local advocacy group who then formed Milwaukee’s first food bank. Today, Hunger Task Force is 100 percent supported by the community and provides a safety net of emergency food with dignity to a network of 75 food pantries, soup kitchens and homeless shelters.
Through legislative analysis, education and community organizing, Hunger Task Force continues to advocate for anti-hunger policy at the local, state and federal level.
For more information, visit HungerTaskForce.org.