(WKOW) -- It all started with a hopeful plea on social media. In the wake of hurricane devastation in Texas and Florida, people wanted some comfort food. And that comfort food was Wisconsin Cheese.
"We were just deeply saddened by it and so since our farmers are always focused on helping we thought what a great opportunity to use what we have in Wisconsin and give that back to the communities that were so devastated by these hurricanes," Social Media Specialist for the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board Lizzy Schultz said.
So the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board reached out to a few cheesemakers to see if they would be willing to donate a few pounds of cheese to the relief efforts! Over 45,000 pounds of dairy products were sent to Texas and Florida thanks to the coordinated efforts of the Independent Procurement Alliance Program, or IPAP, and Midwest Refrigerated Systems who safely delivered the cheeses.
"Our tagline is…Midwest Values Nationwide Service," Jim Koeble, VP of Transportation Midwest Refrigerated Systems said. "So we're shipping Wisconsin food manufactured products, cheese, dairy products, all over the country. Just a perfect way for us to go to."
"It was a great opportunity to showcase the strengths of Wisconsin's Cheese program and the opportunity and working with farmers and cheesemakers to contribute to a situation like," IPAP President Scott Eithun said.
And all that cheese was a huge comfort to the folks trying to gather some semblance of normalcy in storm-battered areas.
"Well, it was pretty exciting because as you know they don't have a lot of cows and they don't have a lot of cheese down there," Eithun said. "And so, to bring in a fresh product like cheese is a comfort food and it was very widely accepted."
"Just a few days after the storm they were still in major recovery mode," Schultz said. "So we sat it out and got the cheese safely delivered and into the right hands so it could get to the people that needed it."
Both IPAP and Midwest Refrigerated Services donated time and shipping services as they were gearing up for one of the busiest holiday seasons of the year, with both efforts within weeks of each other. No small task!