Left to right: Maureen Lemos (Dairy farmer, REAL CALIFORNIA MILK board member), Karen Ross (Secretary of Agriculture, California Department of Food and Agriculture), Karen Baker (Executive Director, Yolo Food Bank), Chelsea Minor (Executive Director, Community Impact & Public Affairs, Raley’s)
Through Raley’s Food For Families, 12 food banks across California, including Yolo Food Bank, will benefit from a generous donation from California Dairy Families. The Real California Milk CADAIRY4GOOD initiative focuses on increasing access to dairy at California food banks.
In commemoration of World Milk Day on June 1, an event was held at the Raley’s location on Freeport Blvd in Sacramento, where California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) representatives and staff from Raley’s Food For Families along with Yolo Food Bank’s Executive Director Karen Baker. The matching funds initiative was announced that will provide up to 13,000 gallons – more than 200,000 servings – of fluid milk to 12 food bank sites.
Throughout the month of June, California dairy families, through the CMAB, will match customer in-store and online Food For Families donations, dollar-for-dollar up to $20,000 to provide fresh milk to those suffering from food insecurity in northern California. Prompts with the “Do Good with Dairy” message will be shared through in-store signage and digital communications to alert consumers to the initiative.
“On behalf of Yolo Food Bank and the rest of the food banks benefitting from this effort, I’m honored to thank our dairy farmers who are always there to feed our families,” said Karen Baker, executive director for Yolo Food Bank. “Milk is an important source of nourishment for the more than 21,000 households we serve monthly. And the donation couldn’t come at a more important time. Not only does food insecurity often spike during the summer with children spending more time at home, but we’ve also seen a 20% increase across food bank distributions since a year ago. I can’t stress enough how critical this donation is, it’s like liquid gold for our food bank. Many thanks Raley’s Food For Families for their role in this innovative partnership.”
California Agriculture Secretary, Karen Ross, was onsite to help make the announcement, stating: “In California, we’re so fortunate to grow many crops and our number one crop is from our dairy families. It’s not just about the economics of dairy, which is significant, it’s about the social good and the environmental good that our dairy families provide to the state. It’s a thrill to be here about something I’m so passionate about – being able to ensure that every person in California, the state that grows the bounty, shares the bounty. That’s what our farm families do, and our dairy farmers are always first in line. I think about the children, the adults, those people in need that are going to have fresh milk as part of a healthy, nutritious diet.”
“California dairy farms like mine have a commitment to nourishing families with one of the most nutritious foods available – milk – with its 13 essential nutrients,” said California dairy farmer Maureen Lemos. “On a day when we celebrate the wholesome goodness of dairy milk, I’m so pleased to be here to announce this partnership and focus on the impact it will have on our local communities.”
The California milk donations will be distributed to 12 Food For Family partner food banks – Alameda County Community Food Bank, Central California Food Bank, Food Bank for Monterey County, Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano, Food Bank of Northern Nevada, Placer Food Bank, Redwood Empire Food Bank, Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services, Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Cruz County, Second Harvest of the Greater Valley, and Yolo Food Bank.
“Raley’s Food For Families has been around for 37 years with the sole mission of helping alleviate hunger. And we do that with great partners,” said Chelsea Minor, Executive Director of Food For Families. “When the California Milk Advisory Board approached us and said, we’d like to give you $20,000, can you help us deliver dairy to our food banks? We said, absolutely. We appreciate the leadership of the dairy farmers to ensure that dairy is getting to every person in our community, whether you purchase it at Raley’s or pick it up at your local food bank.”
All photos by Matt Salvo for California Milk Advisory Board