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Dairy donation challenge is on for Heavenly Manna food bank in Rocky Mount
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Dairy donation challenge is on for Heavenly Manna food bank in Rocky Mount

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The challenge is on! Individuals, groups and businesses against one another and everyone wins.

Heavenly Manna is a food bank in Franklin County that needs the community’s help to have a continuous supply of dairy products (milk and cheese) to fill its dairy cooler which helps feed more than 100 families each week.

Virginia Cooperative Extension has partnered with Heavenly Manna to host a dairy product fundraiser during the month of June which is National Dairy Month.

Dairy science extension agent Cynthia Martel described the challenge as a friendly competition between friends and/or businesses. The challenge starts with one party presenting another with a challenge fundraising letter.

To start the competition, last week Martel sent letters from cooperative extension to the Farm Credit and Blue Ridge Soil and Water Conservation District offices for a matching challenge of 10 gallons of milk. With those offices challenging other offices as well as an influx of new challengers, more families in Franklin County will receive milk and cheese in their food boxes.

Martel, Carol Haynes and Marilyn Clements delivered VCE’s donation to Heavenly Manna on June 7. Clements described the setting. “It was busy. They had cars lined up and volunteers were loading up the cars with boxes of food and milk.”

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Haynes commented on how appreciative the food bank was of their donation.

“It’s a good feeling to help HM be able to supply milk for area families in need,” Clements said.

The dairy donation challenge is critical to being able to help families because the more that is donated means the less that will have to be purchased by Heavenly Manna’s director, Frances Davis.

Because of a $5,000 gift from the World Hunger Auction spearheaded by the Antioch Church of the Brethren and bolstered by additional donors, Davis has a budget of $206 per week to purchase milk. This is used to help 100 families each week.

Davis said to put milk and cheese in the boxes is a joy and that milk and cheese are especially important to children and their development.

Any monetary donations will need to be made directly to Heavenly Manna. Any donations of dairy products can be milk in half and whole gallons or shredded and block cheeses. Donations can be delivered on June 7, 14, 21 and 28 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. to Heavenly Manna which is located at 2211 S Main Street in Rocky Mount.

Martel said, “Anybody can take part in the dairy challenge for Heavenly Manna. You don’t have to be a business. It’s a fun challenge and the goal is to help the community.”

For more information and to sign up, contact Cynthia Martel at 540-483-5161 or email cmartel@vt.edu.

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