Milk give-away Sunday at Franklin fairgrounds

Gallons of milk sit in crates, waiting to be distributed at the Harrisville Dairy Drive at the Harrisville Food Pantry. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

MALONE — More than 3,000 gallons of milk will be given away Sunday morning through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers to Families Food Box program.

The giveaway will be held at the Franklin County Fairgrounds from 9 a.m. to noon. The event will be a drive-thru, with those seeking the milk entering one gate onto the fairgrounds and leaving by a second gate.

Participants will be able to remain in their cars and the milk will be loaded into the vehicle. Families can receive six gallons of milk, she said.

There are no income restrictions in the program, so the milk will be available to anyone who wants it.

The give-away is the first of many that will be held under the federal program. Future give-aways will include boxes of dairy products and boxes of produce, she said.

The food products were purchased through a $2.6 million grant obtained by Malone’s Glazier Packing Co. as part of the USDA’s Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program. The program aids farmers whose products were intended for restaurants and food services such as schools, but whose markets vanished because of closures triggered by the COVID-19 virus.

The program will help farmers who have been dumping their milk because they have been unable to find processors to take it, Dumas said.

“Instead of them dumping it, get it out to the people,” she said.

Organizers are currently working with officials in Clinton and St. Lawrence counties to hold similar events in those communities, with possible expansions into Essex and Jefferson counties in the future, Dumas said. She added she hopes the program will be able to host three such events per week –– one each for milk, dairy products and produce.

Glazier is slated to receive $1.86 million to purchase fluid milk, $360,000 to buy dairy products and $300,000 to obtain fruits and vegetables, the USDA website states.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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