NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH)– When the pandemic first hit, the Gemma E. Moran Food Center in New London became even busier than usual and it still struggles to keep up with the demand.
“So we just actually went through over a pallet of milk today,” said Dina Sears-Graves, who runs the food center.
That’s enough milk for 14 programs. They provide food to 72 total.
“That I mean that will go very, very quickly,” said Sears-Graves. “You know you figure just one gallon of milk per family and there’s four in a box and you can see we only have nine boxes left.”
A North Stonington farmer is hoping to help.
“June is dairy month so we thought it would be a great time to kind of push what we’re doing,” said Brie Casadei, who owns Terra Firma Farm.
The farm opened its creamery in 2016 and last year started an effort #TFFGIVEGALLONS in which it donates a gallon of milk to the Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center and then the Gemma Moran Food Bank for every $5 people donate.
“$260 is a gallon every single week for the entire year,” said Casadei.
The idea is to help local food pantries while also helping this and another local farmer.
“On some weeks we actually have more donations than we can produce milk so we buy milk from another local dairy farmer who also is struggling,” said Casadei.
“It’s one of those items you can’t donate. You know it’s not shelf stable,” said Sears-Graves.
The food center has to buy milk if there aren’t enough donations.
There is also a major meat shortage there. They usually have two freezers full. Now there’s only one and it’s only a third full of meat.
They’re hoping if they get more milk donated they can use that money to buy meat or other protein products like chili, peanut butter, or tuna fish.
The need is still high but donations have dropped since businesses started reopening.