HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A new fundraising record was met with the kick-off of the 2023 Fill a Glass with Hope campaign at the PA Farm Show complex.

The American Dairy Association North East, Feeding Pennsylvania, and the PA Dairymen’s Association announced that they reached a new record of over $201,000 raised towards the 2023 Fill a Glass with Hope campaign.

Agriculture Secretary Russell Reading joined in on the festivities. He was accompanied by former NFL wide receiver Torrey Smith, who is a two-time Super Bowl Champion. Smith previously played for the Philadelphia Eagles and the Baltimore Ravens.

Back in 2016, Fill a Glass with Hope was the first statewide charitable fresh milk program in the country. The program has provided more than 34 million servings of milk to families who are in need.

Feeding Pennsylvania, as well as its nine-member food banks, solicited sponsors to kick off the start of the 2023 campaign.

The funds raised by the campaign will be used to purchase fresh milk at a reduced price from their local dairy processors.

Four $25,000 Keystone sponsors were part of the campaign:

  • Columbia Gas and the NiSource Foundation
  • Coterra Energy
  • FirstEnergy Foundation
  • Weis Markets

“This fundraiser could not come at a more critical time, with soaring food prices and the inflation rate at its highest in 40 years, many Pennsylvanians are facing impossible choices between buying food and paying for other necessities like medication or utilities,” said Jane Clements, Chief Executive Officer of Feeding Pennsylvania. “On behalf of our member food banks, we are thankful for the generous sponsors who continue to ensure that we can provide fresh milk to our neighbors in need, and grateful to have our own Congressman Thompson supporting us here in PA and in Washington.”

Former Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Ravens player, Torrey Smith, noted his appreciation of the program, as well as its impact on children.

“Thanks to Fill a Glass with Hope and with everyone’s help – from our dairy farmers to our food banks, to the sponsors – we can work together to get fresh milk to people in need. Fresh milk has become increasingly available at food pantries across Pennsylvania, giving kids and their parents another great choice, which is power packed,” said Smith.

Secretary Russell Redding also expressed his appreciation for the farmers who provide dairy products to the food system.

“Feeding Pennsylvania, PA Dairymen’s Association and American Dairy Association North East have been creative and resourceful partners in meeting the needs of Pennsylvania families who struggle with food security,” said Redding. “There is no acceptable level of hunger, especially in a state with such incredible bounty.  Thank you for your tenacity in working toward the goal of everyone in Pennsylvania having a place to turn to put food on their tables,” said Redding.

Funding that is collected at the PA Dairymen’s Association Milkshake Booth will support the Fill a Glass with Hope campaign. You can click here to make a donation.

All of those in attendance toasted a celebratory orange cream milkshake in celebration of the PA Dairymen’s Association’s 70th Birthday.