Shippensburg area residents in need were given gallons of whole milk Tuesday afternoon, thanks to generous local contributors and volunteers.

Lynn Witmer, east region sales manager for Conewango Products Corp., said he contacted King’s Kettle Food Pantry on North Fayette Street to coordinate the milk drop in conjunction with their Tuesday food distribution.

With generous donations from Conewango, Pague & Fegan Home and Hardware, The King Street Carpet Outlet and local resident Kevin Kirsch, they were able to distribute 500 gallons of Harrisburg Dairies milk to residents in need.

“I’m in the dairy equipment business. We manufacture products to help milk cows. The dairy industry is in a lot of turmoil right now with farmers having to dump milk due to the surplus caused by closed restaurants and schools. Our industry is dependent upon dairy farms,” Witmer said. “We thought we would help local dairy farmers while also helping local residents. When I reached out for donations, there was no hesitation. They were all happy to help. We have seen milk drops occurring locally, but I don’t think one has been held at a food pantry. I thought, what better way to keep it local than by partnering with King’s Kettle? We also delivered milk to a local senior living community and to shut-ins.”

Witmer noted Bill Kressler, a Shippensburg resident who works for Harrisburg Dairies, brought the truck Tuesday to house the milk.

Any leftover milk from Tuesday was given to Shippensburg Produce & Outreach, and to Oasis of Love for Wednesday’s community meal that typically feeds 130 people, according to Jerome Kater, president of Katie’s Place.

“There’s a lot of satisfaction in being able to help those who are needy in the community,” Witmer said. “It’s also satisfying to be able to help these dairies out.”

Witmer said he wanted to distribute whole milk Tuesday because it has all of the vitamins, minerals and protein one needs. He explained when the fat is removed, it loses nutritional value.

“There’s a stigma that milk is bad for you, but it is one of the best drinks you can have for nutrition,” Witmer said.

Kirsch helped to distribute the milk Tuesday with several other volunteers.

“I’m just glad I could help them out,” he said. “There are people that really are in need, and I’m blessed to be able to do it.”

Volunteer Patrick Reed, a Shippensburg high school student and local Boy Scout, said he wanted to pitch in and help Tuesday, noting he usually volunteers at King’s Kettle during Scouting for Food.

“It’s a nice thing to do to help out people that need it,” Patrick said. “Some people need help, and we all have to be there to help them out.”

Pastor J.R. Wells of King’s Kettle was extremely grateful for the milk donations.

“It’s awesome!” he said. “It’s a blessing to be able to do this and help meet people’s needs. This is the first time we’ve ever had milk like this, and there’s a good line of people coming to receive the food and milk.”

Wells expressed much gratitude to the community that has helped to keep the food bank going during the COVID-19 crisis.

“We want to thank everybody for the way they stepped up when we were down on dollars,” he said. “They helped to keep us going with money coming in. There was a point where I didn’t know where we were going to get the rent from, but it came in! That was the community that helped to do that!”

The food pantry distributes items to those in need between 5 and 6:30 p.m. the first three Tuesdays of the month.

For more information about King’s Kettle, call: (717) 530-9200.

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