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Pittsburgh Food Bank Joins State Milk Distribution Program

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday it’s partnering with Schneider’s Dairy and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank to expand the state’s milk distribution program.

The food bank will now be able to purchase milk from Schneider’s at a reduced rate and then, after covering 15-30 percent of the cost, sell it to food pantries for an estimated 50 cents a quart.  Those pantries, spread across 11 counties will in turn give it for free to in-need Pennsylvanians.

Lisa Scales is the CEO of the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Thanks to the partnership, she said Pennsylvanians will no longer be forced to choose lesser quality products.

“Families are purchasing cheaper, less expensive, unhealthy food because they cannot afford healthier options,” she said. “So, to have this consistent supply of fresh milk is truly wonderful for the food bank.”

The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, which serves 27 counties, signed on to the milk distribution program in June. With the addition of the Pittsburgh food bank, more than 175,000 people across the state will have access to milk through soup kitchens, shelters and food pantries.

The program is distributing 2,000 quarts of milk a week, with plans to bump up production to 5,000 quarts per week within the next six months. So far, about 3,000 gallons of milk have been handed out across the state, according to the Ag. Department.

Scales said milk is one of the most in-demand items that is least available at local pantries.

“Having milk as one of these nutritious food choices helps to complement what we’re already doing in providing more and more fresh produce from the fruits and vegetables options in the food guide pyramid,” she said.

Pennsylvania is the fifth-largest milk producer in the nation and home to more than 7,800 dairy farms, according to the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank.

The Erie, PA native has been a fellow in the WESA news department since May 2013. Having earned a bachelor's degree in print journalism from Duquesne University, he is now pursuing an M.A. in multi-media management. Michael describes his career aspiration as "I want to do it all in journalism."
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