Support Wisconsin Dairy campaign continues to give back to community

Grace Connatser
Wisconsin State Farmer
Elizabeth Katzman

In April, Whitewater high school senior Elizabeth Katzman got the idea to sell yard signs to raise money for local dairy farmers. By july, she'd made $10,000, which she committed to supporting dairy farmers and local food pantries. She's still working through the cash up until at least next year.

Katzman said that while she's no longer selling the signs, she fully plans on spending every last penny of the money to buy local dairy products and give them away to the community. Each month she plans to donate a dairy-related product. Just last month, she gave away 200 baked potato bags in celebration of National Potato Month, while also packaging in Wisconsin-made butter, sour cream and cheese.

The potatoes came from Alsum Farms & Produce based in Friesland, while the butter was from Grassland Butter, sour cream from Weyauwega Star Dairy and cheese from Crystal Farms Cheese. Some of the places receiving Katzman's donations are Whitewater Community Food Pantry and The Community Space.

"With the pandemic going on, I saw a need for dairy farmers, and they were struggling," Katzman said. "We got some help from the community so that 100% of our profits from the project could go straight to the community."

She also gave away 200 bags of cheese curds from Hill Valley Dairy in August and 200 quarts of ice cream from Sassy Cow Creamery in July in celebration of National Ice Cream Month. Later in October, she will be giving away half-gallon jugs of chocolate milk, and in November, she'll be working with several local pizza restaurants in Whitewater to distribute gift cards.

There's a need for help in small communities, Katzman said, especially during the pandemic. She said she's trying to purchase things for food pantries that they don't normally get, and dairy is a product that's hard to find in a food pantry. 

"The food pantries are getting donations from other organizations that they can get grants through, so we're trying to do different stuff," Katzman said. "They don't always get ice cream donated, or potato bags. We're trying to do different things that they don't get from other people."

Katzman said she's enjoyed seeing all the positive feedback from her community throughout the campaign. While she's no longer offering the signs, she said there are still people asking for them every day. Katzman said she's giving back to her community because they have her back and she has theirs. 

"We have $10,000 to work with, so we'll just be donating until it's gone," Katzman said. "It's the community thing where we all have each other's backs. The community has helped us out, so we're helping them out in return."