Some quick math:
The average price of a gallon of milk is $3.69.
One 9-year-old drinking the USDA-recommended three cups a day would polish off about 5-1/2 gallons a month. A household with two kids, 11 gallons. Milk alone would cost that family $40.59 per month.
The average SNAP benefit for families with children in New Hampshire is $289 a month. For everything.
So when struggling families come to the St. Vincent De Paul food pantry in Laconia on Mondays and Wednesdays and are able to reach into the new double door, stainless steel refrigerator for a bottle of fresh milk, that is a genuinely big deal.
“It’s very expensive for families to buy, and they go through a lot of milk,” said McKee Jack, who has managed the Laconia pantry as a volunteer for 11 years. “A lot of times they skip things like that which are important with their limited funds.”
A grant from the Foundation’s Community Crisis Action Fund to the New Hampshire Food Bank allowed for the purchase of 35 cold storage units — refrigerators and freezers — for food pantries and soup kitchens across the state.
That means that more fresh foods — particularly meat and dairy products — are getting to families who need them. Some of the new units were upgrades. But some small food pantries now have refrigeration for the first time.
The Laconia pantry has never distributed milk before. And that milk is not only fresh — it’s local. The Food Bank’s “New Hampshire Feeding New Hampshire” program makes it possible for Jack to buy the milk directly from the Contoocook Creamery. The farmer delivers it every week.
Got milk? Indeed.