HARRISBURG, Pa. — With a celebratory milkshake toast and official bell ringing, First Lady Frances Wolf and Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding joined former NFL star, Jason Brown, dairy industry leaders, Feeding PA food bank leaders, Ms. Senior America Esmeralda Ybarra Hetrick, Pennsylvania dairy royalty, Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association, and American Dairy Association North East (ADANE) at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center to kick off the 2020 Fill a Glass with Hope® campaign, a charitable fresh milk distribution program.
“Alleviating hunger in Pennsylvania has been a personal priority for Tom and me for many years,” said First Lady Frances Wolf. “It’s a sad reality that over 1.5 million Pennsylvanians are food insecure in the commonwealth today. In an agricultural state as rich and diverse as ours, we have the power and the necessary resources to change that narrative, and programs like Fill a Glass with Hope play a critical role in this important work.”
Launched in 2015 in Central Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh, Fill a Glass with Hope® expanded in 2016 to become the first statewide charitable fresh milk distribution program in the country. Since its inception, Fill a Glass with Hope® has provided more than 14 million servings of milk to families in need through Feeding Pennsylvania’s nine-member food banks statewide. The fundraising for the 2020 campaign launched today with major donations of more than $160,000 (all donors listed below), including $25,000 Keystone sponsors Cabot Oil & Gas, FirstEnergy, Giant Food Stores, Land O’Lakes, and Weis Markets.
“No one should be denied access to fresh milk, especially the half a million children in Pennsylvania who are facing hunger,” said Jane Clements-Smith, Executive Director of Feeding Pennsylvania. “Milk is one of the most requested items in our charitable food network and Feeding Pennsylvania’s member food banks are extremely appreciative of our dairy farmers and business leaders for investing in this amazing program so that we can purchase milk, at a reduced price, directly from local dairy processors and distribute it to Pennsylvania families in need.”
Also joining the First Lady and Feeding PA was Sec. Russell Redding, who applauded the hardworking dairy farmers — who make up the largest segment of Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry — and the 6,200 dairy farm families that provide for consumers, the hungry, and the state’s charitable food system.
“I give credit to our partners in agriculture and the charitable food system for imagining a way to curb hunger and creating an opportunity to fight it,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “There is no acceptable level of hunger, especially in a commonwealth as agriculturally rich as ours. Thank you for moving Pennsylvania closer to the goal of full nutritional security.”
Former NFL star, Jason Brown spoke of his appreciation of the program from a personal perspective.
“Since retiring from football, I have found a new calling as a farmer, so this program is near and dear to my heart because it’s my business to feed people, and I believe in donating to food banks so every member of our community has access to the foods they need to thrive,” said Jason Brown, former center, Baltimore Ravens. “Milk has essential nutrients that kids need to grow strong and healthy, and thanks to Fill a Glass with Hope®, fresh milk has become increasingly available at food pantries across Pennsylvania, giving kids and their parents another great choice.”
Dave Smith, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association, echoed this sentiment from the dairy farmers’ perspective.
“Pennsylvania Dairy farmers believe that all Pennsylvanians should have access to the nutrition of fresh milk to power them through their day, including making sure food insecure families benefit from this wholesome protein-packed beverage. That’s why we are thrilled to support this amazing program, Fill a Glass with Hope®.”
After the milkshake toast and bell ringing to officially open the PA Farm Show Food Court, celebrities, including those from the media, joined efforts to tackle hunger as Celebrity Milkshake Servers at the PA Dairymen’s Association Milkshake Booth, to raise awareness and resources for the award-winning program. To learn more or to donate, visit www.feedingpa.org/milk.
2020 Sponsors: Land O’ Lakes, FirstEnergy Foundation, Weis Markets, Cabot Oil and Gas, Giant, PSECU, Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association, Valley Grange #1360, PNC Bank, Southwestern Energy, Seneca Resources, Modjeski and Masters, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, Fulton Financial Corporation, Tri-County Rural Electric Company, AgChoice Farm Credit, MidAtlantic Farm Credit, Sullivan County Dairy Promotion Committee