A Wisconsin creamery is giving away free milk to its local community members who are struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Sassy Cow Creamery, located in Columbus, Wisconsin, and owned by brothers James Baerwolf and Robert Baerwolf, is keeping a refrigerator outside the creamery that is fully stocked with milk and other dairy products.
The creamery has called this refrigerator “the kindness cooler” because it is available to anyone in need, and it is open until the end of the pandemic.
“My three daughters got the idea after being home from school for so long,” James told CNN. “They had a lot of time on their hands and were looking for ways to help out the community and that’s what they came up with.”
The family-owned creamery introduced the kindness cooler at the end of March, “when things started going to pieces” James said.
Many dairy farmers have been dumping their supply of milk as demand from schools, restaurants, and other food service suppliers diminishes. Regulations have made it illegal for farmers to donate or sell raw milk before it is pasteurized.
But the advantage Sassy Cow Creamery says it has is that it pasteurizes its milk on-site.
“The distinction is that milk on farms is raw, and not pasteurized, so most states do not allow the sale of raw milk,” James said. “If you’re a farm with cows and you’re milking, you’re not allowed to sell milk off your farm. Luckily we have a small dairy plant on our farm, so for the past 12 years we’ve been selling our products.”
James said the family has always found a way to deal with a tough situation beyond their control while helping out the community.
“Growing food and feeding people is our whole life,” he said. “Farming isn’t just our job; it’s very near and dear to our hearts. As far as food shortages and people being hungry, we take that very seriously.”
Sassy Cow Creamery is not the only Wisconsin farm that is using its surplus of products for good. Burnett Dairy Cooperative, a Wisconsin-based dairy co-op, is churning out and donating 45,000 pounds of cheese to local food banks in the Midwest.