Several Ontario dairy producers have donated more than 2,700 litres of milk to the Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB) thanks to the Toronto Blue Jays performance in the American League Division Series.
Dairy farmer Derek Van Dieten tweeted several Toronto Blue Jays players on Oct. 7. He pledged for every home run the Blue Jays hit in the series against the Texas Rangers he would donate 100 litres of milk to the OAFB.
Derek came up with the idea while milking cows at his farm near Seaforth, Ont.
“I wanted to donate to the food bank,” says Derek. “I also thought it would make great publicity for dairy farmers, to show we support rural communities and food banks across Ontario.”
Derek’s original message was re-tweeted more than 40 times, featured in a local newspaper and on CTV London and Kitchener newscasts. Fellow dairy farmer, Kurtis Garner, pledged on Twitter to match Derek’s donation. Nine homeruns were hit during the series. The farmers’ total donation to the OAFB is 1,800 l.
Following Derek’s lead, Kurtis Thomson, dairy farmer and Derek’s friend, pledged he would donate 100 l of milk for every strikeout in the final game of the series. Kurtis is donating 900 l to the OAFB from the final game results.
“Posting our pledges on Twitter is raising awareness of dairy farmers who donate to the OAFB every year,” says Kurtis. He farms in Glengarry County.
More than 300 Ontario producers donated 855,000 litres of milk to local food banks last year. Transporters agree to pick up milk at no cost, and about 13 processing plants contribute the processing, packaging and distribution of the milk products.
“Dairy Farmers of Ontario, the Ontario Dairy Council, and the Ontario Milk Transport Association, have been incredible supporters of food banks and the OAFB for more than 20 years,” says Sharon Lee, OAFB executive director. “Food banks work hard to ensure children relying on their services have access to fresh food and protein, with milk being essential to their healthy growth. You never know who might grow up to be the next David Price or José Bautista, but with this generous support, there is no doubt these kids will have the nutrition needed to achieve their full potential.”
Derek will continue his pledge as the Blue Jays play against the Kansas City Royals in the American League Championship Series.
If you are interested in donating milk to the OAFB, please fill out the form in the Milk Producer’s November issue. Forms must be filled out by Jan. 1, 2016 and sent to Dairy Farmers of Ontario in the prepaid envelope included in the magazine.