Click BELOW to hear the FULL interview with Sam Schwoeppe from Feeding America, as part of “The Dairy Download Podcast” presented by American Dairy Association Indiana.
You may not know that milk is the most requested, but least donated product at food banks. That’s why the dairy industry is working to provide solutions to America’s hunger issues.
“I always love to position dairy as the solution,” says Sam Schwoeppe, owner of Schwoeppe Dairy in Dubois County in southwestern Indiana. She is also the Senior Account Manager for AgriSourcing Partnerships with Feeding America, a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks that feed more than 46 million people.
Sam says her passion for helping Feeding America first started when she was a little girl and her parents would take care of foster children.
“We had one young boy come to stay with us. He was so malnourished – a little gray-haired eight-year-old boy – and his skin was flaking. It was incredible to see what regular meals did. It just turned on the light inside of him. The change in him, just from having regular nutritious food, was just so incredible to see. Like a month later, he has red hair and freckles. I will never forget that,” says Schwoeppe.
She says that memory continues to drive her in her work with Feeding America and finding ways to feed those in need, but to eliminate food waste.
Sam says the organization is working on a pilot program that she helped develop called ‘Shredding Hunger.’
“We are sourcing leftover pieces of trimmed cheese,” says Schwoeppe. “If you think about when you go to the deli, you get a nice, round piece of cheese that doesn’t match our square sandwich bread, and there’s leftover cheese products. We have different processing partners across the country who are re-sourcing this trimmed cheese, reprocessing it, getting it made into a shredded cheese. We’re packaging it in family size packages and delivering a low-cost, high-nutrient food product to our neighbors in need.”
In addition, American Dairy Association Indiana continually donates milk, cheese and yogurt dairy products to Gleaners Food Bank – part of the Feeding America network – to help those in need. American Dairy Association Indiana has also donated upright coolers to food banks in order to keep those donations of milk, cheese and yogurt dairy products fresh for distribution.
According to the USDA, more than 34 million people in the United State – including 9 million children – experience food insecurity and hunger issues on a daily basis.
Feeding America is connected with 9 different food banks across Indiana.
- Food Bank of Northwest Indiana – Merriville, IN
- Food Bank of Northern Indiana – South Bend, IN
- Community Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Indiana – Fort Wayne, IN
- Food Finders Food Bank – Lafayette, IN
- Second Harvest Food Bank of East Central Indiana – Muncie, IN
- Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana – Indianapolis, IN
- Hoosier Hills Food Bank – Bloomington, IN
- Terre Haute Catholic Charities Foodbank – Terre Haute, IN
- Tri-State Food Bank – Evansville, IN