Roxann Vaos

Family dairy farm makes food bank milk run

Quadrupling last year’s effort, the Bos family farm and their line of Rock Ridge Dairy products is donating approximately 3,600 litres

Quadrupling last year’s effort, the Bos family farm and their line of Rock Ridge Dairy products is donating approximately 3,600 litres of milk to food banks around central Alberta.

They will be delivering the milk to the Edmonton, Calgary, Red Deer and Lacombe food banks starting Dec. 19, with a trip to Edmonton. “We’ll just have to co-ordinate the other locations,” said Cherylynn Bos.

Edmonton and Calgary will both receive between 1,000 and 1,200 litres of milk, Red Deer will be given 500 and 400 is going to Lacombe.

This is the second year the Bos family have made the food bank run. “We did this last year and we really think we just do so much every day with our nose to the grindstone, it’s nice to get out there in the community,” said Bos

She and her husband were able to expand the project when Albert Milk stepped in and donated the 4,000 litres. “With Alberta Milk coming in, we were really excited,” said Bos.

Rock Ridge only has to provide packaging and transport, as well as process the milk. “We have to standardize it,” she explained, stating a little of the original 4,000 will be lost to cream, leaving them with the 3,600 total.

“Alone, all we could do is a little bit,” said Bos, thanking Alberta Milk for providing the milk, which sits at an $11,000 to $12,000 in retail value.

This year Bos asked the food banks how much milk they think they would need. Edmonton said as much as could be spared and Calgary came back saying they go through 20,000 litres per month. “I was thinking our donation is so small,” said Bos. “It’s just a drop in the bucket.”

Calgary is one consolidated food bank, set up similar to a grocery store, while Edmonton has 40 depots located around the city. Because Edmonton fills the hampers of the orders placed then ships them to the correct depot they aren’t normally able to deal with volatile products such as milk and meat.

“One thing we’re not able to provide to all of our clients consistently is fresh milk,” said Edmonton Food Bank communication representative Roxann Vaos.

“It’s like getting something rare and special at Christmas,” she added.

Vaos says the Edmonton operation has a capacity for 12,000 to 13,000 people per month and last year when the milk was delivered it was all gone in under two hours.

Because she feels more can be done, Bos is issuing a challenge to the other food and dairy processing plants. “There’s a lot of food processors in Alberta. I just want to challenge any local food processors, especially dairy ones, to top our donations.”