Nutrient-dense and fresh foods including dairy, meat and poultry products are often the most needed items at food banks and pantries according to Feeding America and its affiliate organizations. However, they are often the least donated and the most difficult to preserve, due to a lack of appropriate cold storage. Recognizing an opportunity to serve its colleagues’ and customers’ communities, Zoetis has donated $50,000 to The Dairy Alliance and Midwest Dairy to purchase 17 cold storage units for food banks in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota and Virginia.
Now, with the addition of cold storage space, the participating food banks will have the ability to keep these critical food items in supply. These 17 units will help the food pantries they are in serve an estimated 20,000 people each month.
In fact, the first cold storage units are already making a difference.
“We love the new cooler!” said Brenda Lee Lillard, co-director of Cullowhee Valley Baptist Church’s food pantry in Sylva, North Carolina. “We got a surprise delivery of milk, and we could not have taken it if we did not have the cooler.”
Coming home to a full fridge
The donation and delivery of cold storage units is just the beginning. Zoetis also is helping these food banks and pantries keep their new cold storage units stocked with its Fill the Fridge initiative.
“It’s one thing to deliver an empty refrigeration unit. It’s another to help keep it stocked,” said Tim Bettington, executive vice president and president, U.S. Operations, at Zoetis. “That’s why we would like to invite our colleagues, customers and industry allies to donate fresh dairy, meat and poultry products to their local food banks and pantries, or volunteer time to stock shelves and fridges.”
Zoetis has already donated a combined $25,000 to Feeding America and The Great American Milk Drive initiative to help fill fridges through its Calving Season promotion this spring, and its recent June Dairy Month Dear Dairy initiative. Both initiatives sparked appreciation of beef and dairy producers and encouraged donations to support food banks — something that was needed more than ever when COVID-19 hit.
The Zoetis Calving Season promotion empowered cow and calf producers to submit pictures or videos of their calving season experiences. For every submission, Zoetis donated $1 to the COVID-19 Response Fund with Feeding America.
The Dear Dairy campaign invited dairy farmers to write love letters to the dairy industry, and then the public voted on their favorite letter. For every letter and vote, Zoetis donated $5 to The Great American Milk Drive, an initiative created by Feeding America in partnership with dairy farm families and milk companies to drive donations of fresh milk, a nutrient powerhouse, to food banks.
You can help Fill the Fridge
The access to fresh dairy, meat and poultry products at food banks requires all hands on deck. To get involved, individuals are encouraged to post on social media about their own food donation or volunteering experience at a food bank and use the hashtag #FillTheFridge. In addition to posting, they can challenge others to do the same and join the initiative of giving back.
For more information, visit www.zoetisus.com.