Unique partnership with Kilgus Farmstead redirects milk that would have been dumped
by Melanie Jongsma
CHICAGO HEIGHTS, Ill. (April 24, 2020) – It was last week when Supervisor TJ Somer and his wife saw an ABC7 report about Illinois farmers being forced to dump large quantities of milk because of the drastic drop in purchasing from restaurants, schools, and other large institutions who are closed due to the COVID-19 quarantine. One of the farmers mentioned in the report was Matt Kilgus of Kilgus Farmstead, a family-run dairy farm. Somer called Kilgus that same night, and he got a call back the next morning.
“They were just wonderfully cooperative people,” said Somer. Kilgus Farmstead agreed to provide Bloom Township with a minimum of 500 gallons of milk each week at cost.
The Township already has systems in place for providing food to lower income families, and they used those systems to advertise the new Free Milk program. They also used social media, yard signs, and their network of municipalities to spread the word.
By noon on Thursday, April 23, a line of nearly 200 cars snaked from the Bloom Township north parking lot all the way to Vollmer Road. Even so, once opened the distribution system—fashioned after a Portillo’s drive-through—kept things moving. Within 45 minutes over 200 gallons of milk had been given away and the long line was dispersed.
Bloom Township is located at 425 S Halsted Street in Chicago Heights, Illinois. The Free Milk program will run every Thursday from 12:00 noon until 3:00pm.