Litchfield County 4-H continued its grassroots effort to help local families in need this week. This effort builds upon several dairy donations that have gone to area food pantries over the past two years since the pandemic started back in March of 2020.
On 12/15/22, 4 pallets (equating to 768 gallons) of whole milk purchased by grants secured by Kathy Minck and Food Rescue US were distributed to food pantries throughout Litchfield County by several Litchfield County 4-H members and volunteers. Members of the Litchfield County 4-H distributed the milk to 24 food pantries throughout Litchfield County.
The milk was delivered to the Stop and Shop store on High St in Torrington where the milk was offloaded into waiting vehicles owned by Litchfield County 4-H families. These volunteers then delivered the milk to designated food pantries.
This continuing effort, referred to as “Operation Community Impact”, was organized by Bill Davenport, UConn Extension Educator and County 4-H Program Coordinator in partnership with Kathy Minck, Food Rescue US.
This was the 20th Litchfield County 4-H dairy distribution that has occurred since March of 2020. At the end of this 20th effort, they have achieved a total of over 250,000 pounds of milk and other dairy products distributed by 4-H members into refrigerators of over 1,400 Litchfield County families in need.
Litchfield County 4-H members decided to make this latest milk distribution a special holiday themed effort. 4-H Members spent the past two weeks securing donations from local stores to be able to provide the food insecure families who pick up a gallon of milk with a 4-H holiday gift bag including hot chocolate mix, candy canes, and handwritten holiday greeting cards from a local 4-H member.
Milk tops the list as one of the food items most requested by food banks, as it is difficult for the pantries to store and distribute due to lack of refrigerator space at most pantries. It is also the number one food item requested by food insecure families in need. Litchfield County 4-H plans to continue its efforts in working with Kathy Minck and Food Rescue US in securing grants and donations to keep the milk flowing to these food insecure families across Litchfield County well into the new year.
Community Service is one of the key components of the 4-H experience as members actively participate in several community service initiatives such as Operation Community Impact.
4-H is a national program with six million youth participating in various project areas who learn life skills, supervised by over 500,000 volunteer leaders. Litchfield County has 34 active 4-H clubs with over 400 active members in those clubs. Project areas include but are not limited to beef cattle, canine, crafts, dairy cattle, dairy goats, equine, community nutrition, food safety, food preparation skills, horticulture, mechanics, oxen, poultry, sewing, sheep, small animals, STEM, and swine. The 4-H program is organized into four program areas including Agriculture, Civic Engagement, Healthy Living and STEM. These themes all overlap throughout the 4-H experience, with emphasis placed on creating well-rounded individuals. 4-H is the youth development program offered through the UConn Extension system. The purpose of UConn as Connecticut’s land grant university is to provide the citizens of Connecticut with educational opportunities through teaching, research and extension programming. For more information about 4-H and how to join, please contact Bill Davenport, Litchfield County Extension 4-H Educator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 860-626-6854.