Weekend Milk Program a Success
As the end of the school year draws near, I am looking forward to my oldest three children being home all the time. (My three-year-old, although he will never admit it, is looking forward to the same, he is so bored suddenly!)
Looking back, it has been a great year. My children and their teachers have once again amazed me with how much their brains can soak in during 180 days of instruction; this will be my last year with one of my children home full time and I have taken complete advantage of that as much as I can; and, last but not least, with the help of my small community we were able to successfully run a weekend milk program to benefit families in need in our elementary school.
The last one of the above stands out big time.
For me, it was simple. Help was easy to find, milk was easy to obtain since it was already being delivered to the school, and one hour out of my Friday afternoon that I had already been spending volunteering at the school was just turned into another volunteering opportunity.
For the recipients of the program, it was beyond simple, which in turn filled my heart with joy and got my brain going, thinking of more ways to make a difference. These children and their families got at least an additional 48 grams of protein over the weekend they didn’t have before the program started. (If there were multiple siblings in the school, they each received their own cooler bag.) I know how much the kids appreciated what we were doing because to them the anonymity of the program did not matter; they would express their gratitude every Friday and gladly come to claim their numbered bag with a big smile on their face and a kind, proud ‘thank you.’ I mean it when I say that I wish I could bottle up the thankfulness of these children and share it with each and every single person who helped make this happen, it gives you the most amazing feeling in the world!
When it comes to talking about the weekend milk program, I am intentionally humble. I was just a mom, with a little inside information about grants because I’m a dairy farmer, and an idea. Alone I never would have accomplished what this program has turned out to be. It really does take a community, and I am eternally grateful that the response I received from my community was much greater than what I ever expected.
Thankfully, the end of this school year does not mark the end of the weekend milk program. We have funding left, and lots of people still wanting to donate, and even if we didn’t, for these kids I would find it. Next year we plan to start as early as possible and increase our numbers if we have more families in need. There is no application process or proof of need required, just a commitment to help us help them. This year we ran into the issue of snow days being so frequent that we lost some of our coolers, so we are still racking our brains for an incentive to keep them coming back. Without a cooler, we cannot give milk knowing it needs to stay below 45° at all times, and the colder the better, that’s not a chance we are willing to risk. Of course, I have no doubt our team of volunteers will remain strong and I am definitely looking forward to another year with the volunteers, school, and students!