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Some ‘Dairy’ Good News During The Pandemic

Dairy farmer Paul Tompkins is pictured at South Acre Farm near York, England in April. AP photo

The novel coronavirus has caused a ripple effect in the way we look at and think about food.

We are relying more on non-perishable foods since foods such as fruits, vegetables, and dairy have shorter shelf life as we limit the number of trips to the grocery store or to various restaurants offering take-out. While dairy sales at the grocery stores remain fairly stable, our nation’s dairy farmers continue to struggle with an oversupply of dairy. Dairy farmers cannot shut down as cows continue to give milk. Schools and restaurants are the primary consumers of dairy products, and now dairy farmers are finding themselves collaborating with agencies to ensure good quality dairy products are used to help fight food insecurity and reduce the amount going to waste.

This is what happened when Saputo Dairy reached out to the Chautauqua County Office for Aging. Lacey Wilson, Nutrition Director at Chautauqua County Office for Aging states she has been “working with the United Way and other lead agencies to develop a county-wide food system/distribution supply chain for the county.” When Saputo Dairy reached out to the Office for Aging to donate an abundance of their dairy products, the agencies had the ability to create a central order for county meal programs involved in fighting food insecurity.

As a result, a total of 790 pounds of sour cream and 1,210 pounds of cottage cheese have been placed into the hands of county residents through food programs such as Meals on Wheels, food pantries, school nutrition programs, food ministries, and YMCA/YWCAs.

These efforts could not have been facilitated without the help of volunteers and the frontline heroes producing meals. “In cases such as this, the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County is able to link specific volunteers to specific organizational needs.” states Cynde Johnson, United Way Resource Development and Marketing Coordinator. “Operations and needs change weekly with the COVID-19 pandemic and we communicate and connect volunteers accordingly, so our most vulnerable community members can still be served.” To register for current or future opportunities visit uwayscc.org/look-current-volunteer-opportunities-register-future-opportunities. If you are an organization and have a volunteer need, please call 716-483-1561.

Chautauqua County Office for Aging Senior Nutrition Program provides nutritious meals through Home Delivered Meals, Congregate Dining Out Sites, as well as a Restaurant Dining Out Program throughout the county.

Our Dietitians, Cheryl Wahlstrom RDN and Carey Skelton RDN are available for nutrition counseling and education programs. We also sponsor several exercise programs. Call the NY Connects at 716-453-4582 for more details and information. Please remember to contribute toward your OFA nutrition services if you can. These programs are not sustainable without the support of participant and community contributions. Be aware that SNAP benefits can be used toward your contribution.

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