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Cars lined up through the parking lot and out onto the road as the Waupun Future Farmers of America (FFA) and FFA Alumni, along with a local anonymous donor, gave away 1,200 gallons of milk in the Waupun Area School District on April 24 as part of it's Dairy Drive Thru. This Dairy Drive Thru is part of the Waupun FFA and FFA Alumni SUPPORT DAIRY program.

Some people took a gallon, some needed more. Regardless of how much milk they got, the appreciation for the efforts of the FFA was sincere. Some were afraid to go in stores and it gave them peace of mind to drive up and get a gallon handed to them in the car. For some they were out of milk and it would help feed their family. For farmers, the appreciation was deep, knowing the FFA "had their backs."

"We have been thanked for raising awareness to others and for helping to do what we can to get dairy products into the hands of the consumers," said Waupun FFA Advisor Tari Costello. 

Milk was distributed at three locations — LeRoy Meats in Fox Lake, the Rock Golf Club in Waupun and the Alto Community Center in Alto. Distribution started at 10 a.m., by 2:30 p.m., the last gallon was gone. 

"The event was a huge success," Costello said. "People have been generous with donations for the products. On Friday nearly $500 of donations were collected at the donation sites, plus other local donations, which we will be announcing as we get the weekly programs unveiled."

Refrigerated trucks from Brandon Meats, Eden Meat Market and Catering and LeRoy Meats were used to store the milk and the Waupun Kwik Trip helped coordinate the purchase of the milk.

Sassy Cow Creamery, in Columbus, owned by brothers James and Robert Baerwolf, is helping the community in a similar way, CNN reported. The creamery is giving away free milk to community members who are struggling during the pandemic. A refrigerator, called a "Kindness Cooler," sits outside the store loaded with milk and other dairy products for anyone in need. In April the creamery was giving away more than 400 gallons of milk a day. 

The Waupun program kicked off with the Waupun FFA and FFA Alumni purchasing 300 Support Dairy signs that were distributed throughout the school district and surrounding area.

"This past week we provided yogurt in the school lunches," Costello added. "This week we purchased more than 1,400 pieces of string cheese to be put in every school lunch every day this week."

On Friday, May 1, the group will hold another SUPPORT DAIRY Drive thru distributing 2,000 pounds of cheese and sausage to area residents starting at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 1 until all of the cheese and sausage are gone. The 2,000 pounds of cheese and sausage are from Carr Valley Cheese, LeRoy Meats, Brandon Meats, and Eden Meat Market.

There will be three sites: LeRoy Meats in Fox Lake, Tractor Supply in Waupun and 

Ren's Floral/Glamour Shop in Waupun where people can drive up, stay in their car and get their products. Unless,of course, they want to stop and shop at any of the businesses. 

The Waupun FFA has been asked why they are giving away free food. According to the group's Facebook post, "Our local farmers (dairy, beef, and pork producers) have lost a huge market for their products (milk, cheese, beef, pork, etc) with restaurants, schools, convention centers, etc. closed. If through generous donations, more products come off the shelves of stores, the supply chain can keep moving and get products directly into the hands of consumers until the hospitality industry can start again."

Anyone interested in donating to future giveaway events can contact the Waupun FFA. For more information visit the group's Facebook page.

Carol Spaeth-Bauer at 262-875-9490 or carol.spaeth-bauer@jrn.com. Follow her on Twitter at cspaethbauer or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/carol.spaethbauer.

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