Co-Alliance Partners on Refrigeration for Kooler Kids of Preble County

Oct 01, 2021
A global pandemic and the many after-effects have offered us a whole new perspective on food, income and our daily living. Today more than ever there is a call to support families in need as we navigate lost jobs, skyrocketing prices and continued uncertainty. 

Here are a few sobering statistics, from Feeding America:
  • Nearly one in eight Americans face hunger. 
  • Leading into the pandemic, one in six children were food insecure, but now that number is closer to one in four.;
  • While donations to food banks through Feeding America have been invaluable to helping more Americans and their children gain access to their next meal, unfortunately, many rural food pantries lack adequate refrigeration, making it difficult to provide fresh and nutritious perishable foods. For example: 
  • 46.5 million food bank clients get less than one gallon of milk annually. 
Lack of refrigeration limits the product donations that can be accepted and the amount of product that can be regularly delivered to those in need.  Preble County, Ohio has 7 primary food pantries across the county serving a collective average of 550 families (approximately 1600 individuals) each month.  
This summer Co-Alliance was approached by a farmer-member who is working with other dairymen to alleviate the food supply shortage in Preble County. The Kooler Kids of Preble County project was initiated by Balchem, with support from Dairy Farmers of America. The goal was to increase refrigeration capacity at two local food pantries (Eaton and Lewisburg) for large scale donations of fluid milk, dairy, meat and fresh produce products to support the 7 pantries in Preble County.
“Last March, we saw this unfortunate situation where milk was being dumped due to a drop in demand, as a result of schools and restaurants being shut down, with nowhere to send it,” said Jonathan Griffin, Balchem Corporation’s vice president and general manager. “But at the same time, we saw a growing number of Americans going without adequate nutrition, including fresh milk, produce and meats. We thought – we have to do something – and that’s where the Kooler Kids Project began.”
We took a long, hard look at the Kooler Kids program and the beneficiaries and knew it was a perfect opportunity for us to deliver on our cultivating communities initiative. 
Co-Alliance committed to a $1,000 donation to the Kooler Kids Program and also applied for a matching grant through the Land O’Lakes Foundation. We were approved, making our donation $2,000 towards refrigeration and food security in Preble County. 


Pictured: Eric Altom, Balchem, Jennifer McCarty, Common Good of Preble County, Lindsay Sankey and Stan Hicks of Co-Alliance. Stan Hicks is a Preble County resident. 

When we recognize a need in the rural communities we serve, we deliver. We’re grateful to contribute to this project and very much look forward to watching the progress as families get  the nutrition they need. 


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