ST. OLAF, Iowa – The Clayton County Dairy Promotion Committee has pledged to donate 24 gallons of milk every week to the Clayton County Food Shelf. The food shelf updated their refrigeration storage and has space to keep more perishable foods, like dairy products, on hand.
    The Clayton County Farm Bureau challenged the dairy promoters to donate milk for two weeks in June, and they would take the other two weeks for June Dairy Month. In April, the motion was brought forward and the group agreed to donate 24 gallons a week for the year.
    “As a committee we thought that since some families cannot afford milk, they may bypass the real dairy product for a cheaper version,” Nancy Moon said. “We thought this would be a good way to get the real, nutritious milk into their homes.”
    Moon and her husband, Dan, and son, Ryan, milk 45 cows in a tiestall barn on Moondale Farm near Monona, Iowa. They also farm 300 acres of oats, hay, soybeans and corn.
    The vote passed and the group began donations.
    Because of this donation, the Clayton County Food Shelf is able to use extra funds to purchase other needed items.
    “It’s amazing,” said Utoni Ruff, Clayton County Food Shelf supervisor. “I had to come up with funds to purchase meat and that took away the milk money I would’ve had. Then here they come with the milk money, and it was just perfect. Right on time.”
    On average, Ruff serves 84 families in the Clayton County area a month.
    “I go through the 24 gallons in a week,” Ruff said. “But it’s a comfortable number to have on hand. The committee has been very good to me. I do the best I can with their money.”
    The funds for the weekly milk donation come from the Dairy Bar that the group manages at the Clayton County Fair each year, where they sell hand-dipped ice cream cones, shakes and sundaes.
    “The Dairy Bar is split into different shifts over the five days of the fair,” Moon said. “Several different groups and individuals volunteer their time to work in the Dairy Bar.”
    They give back to the community in other areas as well.
    “We have been promoting dairy products to non-profit fundraisers and bible schools for all churches in the county for many years,” Moon said. “We donate cheese sticks to all county school’s after prom parties, and at our dairy banquet we donate butter as door prizes to each family that attends.”
    They also contribute dairy products to the Clayton County Fair commodity supper and 4-H omelette brunch every year.
    “We have also donated butter to the food shelf for their holiday shop baskets in December,” Moon said.