Emily Grams: Devoted to Donating Dairy
Being a dairy farmer means milk is an everyday staple on our table. But this isn’t the case for everyone in my community, so one of the ways I like to give back is donating milk to different organizations and families in our community.
In the past, my family has filled cooler bags at our local school with milk to go along with the non-perishable items others donated through the backpack program; donated milk for schools to use at book fair dinners or fundraisers; and provided milk for runners to re-fuel after 5K runs.
For a number of years, Alcona schools in Lincoln, MI had a program providing milk to children from low-income families for weekend meals. They were given three servings of milk per day. A couple of years ago, that program was discontinued.
Last year, I tried restarting the program but was unsuccessful. Not wanting to give up, I decided to create a Facebook post sharing that I had funds available through a UDIM dairy producer grant to provide milk and other dairy foods to families in need. I wanted to focus on families who had kids home for winter break with no way of providing them with the nutrient-rich dairy foods that are so important in kids’ diets. To my surprise, an astonishing 40 families came forward asking for help.
When we realized how many families we were going to be able to impact, my friend, Melissa June, and I went Wal-Mart and Meijer and purchased 80 gallons of milk, along with butter, sour cream, cream cheese, string cheese, yogurt, cheese slices and more! We filled our cart with delicious dairy foods for these families to enjoy over winter break.
Originally we had planned to keep the dairy foods in Alcona County, but we received a call from the food bank in Alpena asking if we could help them. Of course, we couldn’t say no! We took about $100 worth of milk, cheese and yogurt to them. Dairy foods are the most requested items, yet least donated, in food banks and we were thrilled to be able to make a donation there.
Emily Grams grew up in Alcona County. She fell in love with a dairy farmer in 2009, which quickly developed into her love for cows. They married in 2012 and now have three children – Allie, Bick and Charli P. Though they recently sold their dairy cows, Emily’s husband Matt works on the dairy farm that bought their cows. Although they do not have their own cows, Matt continues working with their cows every day, and the entire family visits the farm frequently. Emily’s love for cows and dairy continues even off the farm.