Gene Brady, chief executive of the Weinberg North East Regional Food Bank, said the organization is already involved with Feeding Pennsylvania, a successful program that brings milk to food banks in the state. That is now expanding into Susquehanna County.
Blue Ridge, Choconut Valley Elementary and Elk Lake serve as local distribution centers each month where participating families each receive a half-gallon of milk, as well as other fresh products.
In 2016, the Fill a Glass of Hope program provided 1,388 half gallons of milk to families with school-age children in the county, enough for over 11,000 glasses of milk
The Weinberg organization works with Trehab in the county. “Without our partners to the community, it wouldn’t work,” Brady said.
Trehab helps Weinberg to identify participants and works to get word out about the program to its food bank clients, said Executive Director Dennis Phelps. About 220 families are served each month.
Brady said Weinberg receives the milk marketing program discount, enabling them to purchase the dairy product at the lowest price possible. “It makes our donations go farther,” he said. The organization not only partners with the Milk Marketing Board, but also the Dairy Association of Pennsylvania and the local farmers’ dairy cooperative.
Cabot’s George Stark said, “Cabot is happy to help bring this program to Susquehanna County and added that the need is still not being met.
Stark said the milk program is just one more way the natural gas drilling company has partnered with the North East Regional Food Bank. Cabot also participates in the “Hunters Share the Harvest” program that provides venison to the food banks.
Phelps said there is an increased need in the winter on the local food banks, largely because of the number of seasonal workers in the county and economic downturns.
Last year, Brady said 1 million glasses of milk were provided statewide through the Fill a Glass of Hope program.