2024 Fill a Glass with Hope® Campaign Sends 36 Million Servings of Fresh Milk Flowing into Pennsylvania’s Charitable Food Network

Jan. 5, 2024 (HARRISBURG, PA) – Today at the PA Farm Show, 2024 Fill a Glass with Hope® (FGWH) charitable milk distribution program got a big boost with $135,500 in donations thanks to its annual Feeding Pennsylvania fundraising campaign launch.

Joining Feeding Pennsylvania to announce the kickoff were program supporters: Two-time Super Bowl Champion and Former NFL quarterback (Pittsburgh Steelers) Charlie Batch; Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture, Russell Redding; Feeding PA CEO Julie Bancroft; PA Dairymen’s Association Executive Director Dave Smith; Lolly Lesher, Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program (PDPP); and John Chrisman, American Dairy Association North East (ADANE). Other notables included PA Dairy Princess Royalty, state, business, and government leaders, sponsors, dairy industry leaders, and Feeding PA member food bank leaders. 

People throughout the Commonwealth are not immune to food insecurity, with rural areas having some of the highest rates of food-insecure households. In fact, more than 1.2 million Pennsylvanians including 325,000 children experience food insecurity each year. Due to programs like FGWH, Feeding Pennsylvania’s nine partner food banks distribute more than 164 million pounds of food through a network of over 2,700 agencies and feeding programs.

“Milk is one of the most requested items at food banks across the state,” said Julie Bancroft, CEO, Feeding Pennsylvania. “Fill a Glass with Hope® allows food banks to secure more nutritious and nourishing, protein-rich milk to help Pennsylvanians experiencing hunger thrive.”

Secretary Russell Redding lauded hardworking dairy farmers who make up the largest segment of Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry and the 5,000 dairy farm families that supply wholesome, nutritious dairy products for consumers, the hungry, and the state’s charitable food system. 

“In a state as rich in resources as Pennsylvania, no one should go to bed not knowing where their next meal will come from,” Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “We are grateful to Pennsylvania farmers for their generosity and proud to support their efforts to feed less fortunate neighbors. We’re also grateful to Feeding Pennsylvania, American Dairy Association North East, and Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association for their devotion to fighting hunger in PA.”

Fill a Glass with Hope® was first launched in 2015 through a partnership of local dairy farmers and the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. Once Feeding PA signed onto the program, it has evolved into the country’s first statewide charitable fresh milk distribution program currently supplying more than 36 million servings of milk to people in need. Pennsylvanians experiencing food insecurity are served through Feeding Pennsylvania’s nine partner food banks.

The funds announced today will launch this year’s campaign with donations exceeding $135,500 (all donors listed below), including $25,000 Keystone Sponsors Weis Markets and Coterra Energy, Inc. In 2023, Weis Markets raised over $84,000 through their retail round-up at the register program during National Dairy Month, and PA Dairy Princesses also contributed $8,582 to the charitable cause.

“Thanks to Fill a Glass with Hope® and its sponsors, fresh milk is available at food pantries throughout our state. Together, we want to ensure that families, especially children, have essential nutrients to fuel their days,” stressed two-time Super Bowl Champion and Former NFL quarterback (Pittsburgh Steelers) Charlie Batch.

Dave Smith, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association, commented on why this charitable food program is crucial to feeding the state’s struggling families and how dairy farmers continue to step forward in support.

“With a record number of families struggling to buy food and meet basic living expenses due to rising prices and inflation right now, I am proud that our dairy farmers and partners are dedicated to providing fresh milk to Fill a Glass with Hope® for neighbors in need. We all have a responsibility to give back and to help those families who need our aid. Our nutritional dairy products, such as milk, help Pennsylvanians who are facing food insecurity and are served by Feeding PA Food Banks,” said PA Dairymen’s Executive Director Dave Smith.  

“Dairy farmers make it their life’s work to provide nutritious food for all people, so the Fill a Glass with Hope® campaign is very meaningful to us,” said Berks County dairy farmer Lolly Lesher of Way-Har Farms, who is also the PDPP Chair. She applauded everyone who is stepping up to help their neighbors who are experiencing hunger. Lesher, along with her husband and children, run a 300-cow dairy farm where they process milk and ice cream for sale in their own country store.

After the milkshake toast, visitors flocked to sample all the farm-fresh foods and beverages being offered during the 2024 show. Learn more by visiting the PA Dairymen’s Association Milkshake Booths at the PA Farm Show and donate to Fill a Glass with Hope® at feedingpa.org/milk.  

  2024 Sponsors:  

Weis Markets; Coterra Energy, Inc.; ABARTA Coca-Cola Beverages, LLC and Fairlife; Horizon Farm Credit; Land O’Lakes; NJM Insurance Group; PSECU; PA Dairymen’s Association; Southwestern Energy; Swiss Premium Dairy; Valley Grange #1360; Modjeski and Masters, Inc.; The GIANT Company; Fulton Bank; PA Farm Bureau; Tri-County Rural Electric Cooperative; Marburger Farm Dairy, Inc.


About Feeding Pennsylvania
Feeding Pennsylvania is a partnership formed among Pennsylvania’s nine Feeding America partner food banks. Collective efforts aid member food banks in securing food and other resources to reduce hunger and food insecurity for communities across Pennsylvania and provide a shared voice on the issues of hunger and food equity. Feeding Pennsylvania member food banks serve 1.2 million people annually by distributing more than 164 million pounds of food through a network of more than 2,700 agencies and feeding programs. In 2016, each Feeding Pennsylvania member food bank became licensed as a charitable milk sub-dealer by the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board, allowing them to purchase milk from dairies at a reduced price in a program called Fill a Glass with Hope®. To donate to Fill a Glass with Hope, visit www.feedingpa.org/milk.  

About Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association 

The Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association is the oldest dairy group in Pennsylvania. The Dairymen’s Milkshake is the top-selling, sought-after “PA Preferred Product” at the Food Court. The Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association has been promoting Fill a Glass with Hope® with agriculture partners, Feeding PA, the American Dairy Association North East, the PA Dairy Promotion Program, corporate partners and food banks since 2015. The Association has surpassed the $1 million mark in funding to dairy youth development and education programs, securing a bright future for Pennsylvania’s dairy industry. The Association also supports the PA Dairy Princess Program, The Calving Corner, the mobile education lab for schools, consumer dairy programs, classroom education, scholarships, and more. For more information, visit​ PADairymens.com.​ 

About American Dairy Association North East (ADANE) 
American Dairy Association North East (ADANE) is the local affiliate of the National Dairy Council® and the regional consolidation of three promotion organizations including the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council, Inc., Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association and Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program. Committed to nutrition education and research-based communications, ADANE provides science-based nutrition information to, and in collaboration with, a variety of stakeholders committed to fostering a healthier nation, including health professionals, educators, school nutrition directors, academia, industry, consumers and media. Funded by dairy checkoff dollars from 9,000 dairy farm families in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and northern Virginia, ADANE works closely with Dairy Management Inc.™ to bring a fully integrated promotion program to the North East region. For more information, visit AmericanDairy.com.

About Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program (PDPP)

Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program is the farmer-directed organization funded by participating dairy farmers to build demand and sales for milk and dairy foods throughout Pennsylvania. Managed by American Dairy Association North East, Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program develops and implements local programs to drive milk and dairy sales at retail outlets and in schools. The organizations also conduct consumer education about dairy through events, traditional and social media, and in collaboration with health professionals through National Dairy Council®. For more information, visit americandairy.com/pennsylvania-dairy-promotion-program or call 315.472.9143.