AUBURN — Good Shepherd Food Bank is pleased to announce 12,000 pounds of donated handcrafted cheese from Pineland Farms and Dairy Farmers of America has been distributed to their network of over 500 partner agencies. This donation is part of an initiative that began in the spring of 2020 to aid relief efforts for Maine families and businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Everyone loves the Pineland cheese. It is really good locally-produced cheese. I’ve had lots of positive feedback,” said Tracy Kelly, Come Spring Food Pantry in Union. 

In the first donation, Pineland Farms Dairy produced 34,586 pounds of cheese to be distributed across the state of Maine through Good Shepherd Food Bank’s partner network. Keeping the same process for the second round, Dairy Farmers of America works with local dairy farms to gather milk for the cheese production. Two tankers of milk were sent every week to Pineland Farms Dairy to be turned into cheese.

“This partnership allows food-insecure Mainers access to nutritious, high-quality, locally-made cheese,” said Kristen Miale, president of Good Shepherd Food Bank. “With food insecurity rates being projected to rise by 25 percent during the pandemic, we are grateful for the donation from Dairy Farmers of America and Pineland Farms Dairy, and are excited to start distributing it to our partner agencies.”

Using 100 percent fresh Maine milk from surrounding family farms, Pineland Farms Dairy creates unique, handcrafted cheeses while supporting local agriculture. Pineland Farms Dairy President Mark Whitney stated, “We are pleased to have the opportunity to send this product directly to Good Shepherd Food Bank and to work with organizations who support both Maine farmers and Maine families in need.”

For more information on the program, please visit www.feedingmaine.org or www.pinelandfarmsdairy.com.