This past holiday season, Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) members and employees demonstrated the cooperative’s core value of community by helping those in need. Through a wide range of events and activities across the nation, employees and members donated money, clothing, food and gifts to a variety of local and national organizations.
“As a cooperative, we are committed to giving back in those communities where we live and work,” said Monica Massey, senior vice president and chief of staff for DFA. “Our employees are grateful for the opportunity to help provide a more festive holiday for families in their areas.”
Giving activities across the country included:
- A variety of activities at DFA headquarters in Kansas City, Kan., including raffles and a chili cook-off contest, to raise money for the purchase of holiday gifts for children in need. Toys and gifts were provided to children in the Kansas KVC Holiday Heroes and McKinney-Vento programs, DFA said. Through the fundraising efforts, DFA employees raised nearly $7,000.
- Several charitable efforts from employees in the Mideast Area, including collecting money and donating 200 half-pints of milk for the Medina County, Ohio, Shop with a Cop program, as well as donating 125 gallons of whole milk to the Blessings in a Backpack program at a local school district. Employees also helped collect laundry detergent, soap and shampoo for the Tank the Truck program, which supports the Medina County Chapter #72 of the Disabled American Veterans, DFA noted.
- Delivery of five truckloads of milk in November and December in the Northeast Area. The milk was to be processed into approximately 25,000 pounds of cheese for the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank in Harrisburg, Pa. The food bank is part of the national Feeding America network and a member of Feeding Pennsylvania, a statewide association that promotes charitable food distribution, DFA said. The cheese will be available to 900 partner agencies that provide food to more than 65,000 people throughout central Pennsylvania each week. Additionally, Northeast Area employees donated food and gifts to individuals and families in need, served by The Salvation Army Syracuse.
- A gift-giving party hosted by employees at DFA’s plant in Springfield, Mo. As a result of year-long fundraising, the employees helped make the holidays brighter for children at the Marion C. Early elementary school in Morrisville, Mo. During the event, approximately 300 children from the school visited with Santa Claus, decorated cookies and drank milk, and received holiday gifts.
- The donation of 400 pounds of milk powder by the Southwest Area, in conjunction with Dairy MAX, to the North Pole of Texas Christmas Program’s Hot Chocolate Factory event, which hosted close to 20,000 visitors this past holiday season. Additionally, Southeast Area employees made donations throughout December to purchase gifts benefiting the Toys for Tots Foundation.
Community outreach programs such as the holiday giving campaign are a key focus for the DFA Cares Foundation, which was established in 2005 as a nonprofit charitable organization, DFA noted. Through the DFA Cares Foundation, DFA provides disaster relief via product and monetary donations, invests in the future of the industry with scholarships to students pursuing careers in dairy and contributes dairy food and products for those in need.