We just pulled into the driveway after having an early Christmas with my Pennsylvania family and it has me thinking about this post. Honestly, it’s pure coincidence that it plays into my partnership with The Great American Milk Drive.
While we were visiting my childhood home over this past weekend, my mom was brave enough (we gave her a helmet and goggles) to run a few errands with us in our SUV full of 3 kids under 6.
My mom and I often fight back and forth about who knows the back country roads best – who knows which one leads to the next and where we’ll ‘pop out’.
Somehow, after decades living far away from where I grew up, I still win. I know them all. I’m the back road king. Maybe, lol.
After stopping off at the bank for my mom (she’s not down with mobile deposits), I happened to make a left onto Allentown Road in Milford Township, Pennsylvania.
My mom normally goes the ‘short and straight’ route to Quakertown (their closest town) and I could sense a shift in her alignment in the passenger’s seat when I made the unexpected turn. We were going down a road that would bring back memories.
My nana, Jean T. Wentz, was born in a farmhouse along that stretch of Allentown Road which doubled as a dairy farm owned by my Great-Grandfather, Paul H. Wentz.
I’ve told you guys about my nana, her brothers and dad and how they fought through having two sons serving in the military and struggled to keep their dairy business alive. They worked tirelessly to bring milk to the families of their community in Pennsylvania during World War II. It was tough work, but milk was a simple pleasure that most families were able to enjoy each night at the dinner table.
As a family, we’ve always tried to be grateful for everything that hits our own table, milk included. My wife and I also feel that it’s important to educate our kids about where their food comes from.
With the help of Laura England, a representative of the Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association, I got in touch with Chuck Fry, a fourth generation farmer and owner of Rocky Point Dairy Farm & Creamery, not far from the banks of the Potomac River, along the back roads of historic Maryland.
I’ve known about Chuck’s farm since we moved north of the District two years ago. We’ve taken our kids there in the summertime to pet calves, have some ice cream (made by his wife in the creamery) and run through their vast field of sunflowers.
The public only has access to the creamery portion of the farm and I had absolutely no clue about what lay beyond that field of flowers, until now.
I met Chuck and Laura on a Tuesday morning with my wife and kids, after driving almost a mile back to his actual farmhouse, surrounded by out-buildings, workshops, cow stalls and milking stations.
Little did I know that Chuck’s 1,500-acre farm has been in his family since the late 1800’s.
He told me that he treats all of his cows (around 200) as if they were his own children, doing his best to make sure they’re safe, comfortable and well cared for.
He wants to make certain that they produce only the best milk for the community in the surrounding area.
As a kid (and now as a dad of three), we’ve always had milk on the table.
The sad reality is that not every family can afford this convenience, an extremely IMPORTANT convenience, needed to help build the strong bones and minds of our youth.
12 million children in the United States rely on donations given to their local food banks and pantries every year. One of the most requested items, milk, rarely makes an appearance. This leaves those children with limited access to milk’s essential nutrients, including 8 grams of protein.
If my great-grandfather or great-grandmother, Paul and Carrie, were alive to hear this astonishing fact, my guess is that they’d break down in tears.
They cared about the people around them and so do I.
Please consider donating $5 to the Dad or Alive Milk Drive – it’s nothing, really. Skip your Starbucks this Friday and your contribution will provide a gallon of milk to a family in YOUR community that needs it.
I’m giving you a great, big smile and somewhere up there, my great grand-pop, Paul is giving you one, too.
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