MISSISSAUGA – In celebration of Canada 150, Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO) announced in early November that the DFO Board, on behalf of Ontario’s dairy farmers, is donating $150,000 to the Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB) for the purchase of milk and dairy products for Ontario families in need. To maximize its donation, DFO has partnered with Gay Lea Foods Co-operative Ltd (Gay Lea Foods), which will provide products to the OAFB at cost for the next five years.

Individual Ontario dairy farmers already collectively donate, with the support of the Ontario Dairy Council and Ontario Milk Transport Association, almost one million litres of milk to the OAFB annually.

“Canada’s 150th year is the perfect time to reflect on the wonderful country we live and work in,” said DFO Board Chair Ralph Dietrich. “Dairy farmers across Ontario are very fortunate to be able to produce some of the highest quality milk in the world and to do so in our great country. The dairy industry is an important contributor to the Canadian economy and to the health of Canadians. The DFO Board wants to give back to communities in need across Ontario. I believe it is important to ensure every Canadian has access to high-quality Canadian milk, and that is why I’m proud to announce this special donation to the OAFB.”

“There are no words to describe how grateful we are to the Dairy Farmers of Ontario for their incredibly generous $150,000 donation in honour of Canada 150. This gift will go a long way in helping us provide families in need with highly nutritious dairy products and fresh milk throughout the next five years,” said Executive Director of the Ontario Association of Food Banks Carolyn Stewart. “We would also like to thank Gay Lea Foods for their generous partnership, which will ensure that each donated dollar makes the greatest possible impact across the province.”

Gay Lea Foods is the largest dairy co-operative in Ontario, with members on more than 1,300 dairy farms and more than 4,000 members in total. The co-operative is a longtime supporter of Ontario’s annual milk donation program and a proud sponsor of the OAFB’s 2017 Capacity Building Program, which provides food banks in Ontario with funding to grow their capacity to accept, store and distribute fresh food.

“Gay Lea Foods is exceptionally pleased to partner with Dairy Farmers of Ontario and the Ontario Association of Food Banks to provide nutritious Ontario milk and dairy products to the OAFB at cost for the next five years,” said the co-operative’s Chair Steve Dolson. “This partnership will expand the purchasing power of the OAFB and significantly leverage the positive impact of the generous donation from DFO, collectively allowing us to reach more adults and children living with hunger in Ontario than any one of us could alone. As a co-operative, this type of collaboration is close to our hearts and we are proud to belong to an industry that prioritizes supporting the communities where our families live, work and play.”

Dairy Farmers of Ontario is the marketing group for the largest sector of Ontario agriculture, and proudly owned and operated by the farm families of Ontario’s dairy farms.