GREELEY, Colo. — On a normal day over 40 million Americans struggle to provide enough food for their families. The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified this need, with food banks across the country experiencing more and more people needing assistance. When one dairy farmer, Adrian Diepersloot, heard of this growing need, he initiated a $10,000 donation to provide 3,325 pounds of cheese to Weld Food Bank in Greeley, Colorado.
Diepersloot, a third-generation dairy farmer and owner of family partnership Wolf Creek Dairy, began hearing about the strain food banks were experiencing and wanted to help. After exploring options, his family decided to focus on Weld Food Bank where a donation could reach the most people in need in their area. To Diepersloot it only made sense to donate in the form of nutritious dairy foods he produces, like many other dairy farm families across the country are doing to give back despite the challenges they are facing.
“Many farmers are struggling to stay afloat, but they keep showing up and working hard for a cause they believe in,” said Diepersloot. “Our family wanted to give this cheese not only to satisfy an immediate hardship in our community, but also shed light on the fact that dairy farmers will continue to be here for people in need until we cannot anymore.”
In Weld County one in five people overall and one in four children face hunger. Weld Food Bank’s mission is to engage the community in the fight against hunger, and this was represented well when the Diepersloot family dropped off the boxes of cheese to help feed their neighbors. Bob O’Connor, executive director of Weld Food Bank, points out the 3,325 pounds of cheese donated would typically last a month. But in the current times, this much will be gone through in just a week.
“Cheese is always a valued donation for those struggling to put food on the table,” O’Connor said. “During this time COVID-19 has driven up distribution by 51%, and our ability to give families this healthy protein is amazing.”
Dairy farming is a family affair for Diepersloot, whose grandparents immigrated from Holland to California. A few years ago, Diepersloot, his wife Jaclyn and their four children moved to Severance, Colorado to continue growing the family dairy business in hopes of passing it to the next generation. Wolf Creek Dairy is part of the 95% of dairy farms across the country that are family-owned and operated.
The entire family – Adrian, Jaclyn, Brooklyn, Cade, Mina and Tyce – all spent Good Friday helping load the boxes of cheese into delivery trucks headed for Weld Food Bank. To Diepersloot it was a special moment for his children to experience giving back during these times. “It was a surreal thing my kids had never experienced,” said Diepersloot. “It was great for them to help and hear firsthand how our donation will impact those in need.”
Weld Food Bank distributes donations to the community through mobile food pantries, senior feeding and more. Last year 13.6 million pounds of food were distributed, with dairy and meat making up 74%. According to Bob O’Connor, partnering with local farmers helps make this all possible. “Wolf Creek Dairy is a prime example of community stepping forward to help their neighbors during a crisis,” O’Connor said.
But to Diepersloot, his donation is part of a larger story – one of dairy farm families across the country who continue working hard to feed their communities.
“Dairy farmers play a crucial role in providing affordable and nutritious food to a hungry world,” he said. “And I want to personally express gratitude and admiration for my fellow farmers.” To donate milk to a local food bank, visit www.GiveAGallon.com.
— Dairy Max
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