Dairy firm starts fresh milk donation project 

Real Fresh Dairy Farms Inc. (RFDFI) distributes fresh milk to victims of the Taal Volcano eruption in 2020. In two years, the RFDFI’s milk donation project has expanded to benefit an orphanage, several hospitals and children in selected depressed communities in Laguna and Batangas.

When Real Fresh Dairy Farms Inc. (RFDFI) offered to donate fresh milk to victims of the Taal Volcano eruption in 2020, they were met with skepticism. 

  “Due to its highly perishable nature, fresh milk is not exactly an acceptable food item in times of national emergencies. In fact, we were initially met with resistance from concerned individuals the moment we said we were donating fresh milk. But that did not discourage us. In the end, we were able to donate more than 500 liters of milk, which were distributed to the Taal evacuees, mainly children, in Padre Garcia, Mabini, Bauan, Barangay Cuta, Bolbok in the province of Batangas,” recalled  Mike Hernandez, operations manager of RFDFI, maker of Holly’s 100 percent Premium Farm Fresh Milk.  

Ironically, milk, being highly nutritious, was something the evacuees, particularly children, needed. In the cramped evacuation centers, with less than ideal conditions, where they were more vulnerable to diseases, milk could help strengthen their immune systems.  

Milk is rich in calcium, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, vitamins B and D. It is an excellent source of protein and helps boost immunity. 

That initial donation to Taal evacuees was to be the start of RFDFI’s unique initiative as part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) program.  

When the corona virus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic hit, RFDFI had even more reason to pursue the program. 

“Although our regular delivery schedule was halted due to the ECQ (enhanced community quarantine), we could not cease farm operations because our cows had to be milked twice a day – otherwise, they would experience udder-related health issues . . . Our cows produce about 1000-1300 liters of milk daily, even during the series of lockdowns,” said Oliver Costa, RFDFI farm manager. 

Added Jake Borja, RFDFI farm supervisor, “While a portion of our milk yield goes to the processing of our other products like yoghurt, kesong puti and Laguna Gowda, we were still left with a massive amount of milk . . . . Milk dumping was never an option.”  

For its milk donations program, RFDFI has partnered with local governments, private companies, hospitals and government agencies. 

   Among the other beneficiaries of the milk donations were Bahay ni Maria Orphanage, frontliners of Calamba (Laguna), faculty and staff of De La Salle University-Taft (Manila), staff of Dr. Jose Reyes Memorial Hospital, Food Bank Alabang (Mandaluyong City), economic frontliners in Metro Manila, doctors and staff of Makati Medical Center, doctors and staff of San Lazaro  Hospital, doctors and staff of the Regional Institute for Tropical Medicine, doctors and staff of San Pablo Hospital  (Laguna), doctors and staff of the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center, Philippine General Hospital, Rizal Medical Center, Miscos Clinic in Silang (Cavite) and economic frontliners of San Pedro (Laguna). 

Katharine Arroyo, RFDFI president, said, “The pandemic was really a test of faith and resilience for most businesses, but it also showed us the spirit of community, kindness and purpose . . . the thought that we were able to give back to our community through our modest milk donations was very rewarding and uplifting. It has now become a key component of our CSR initiatives, and we plan to reach more areas and people, especially children . . .”  

In July 2020, RFDFI partnered with the National Dairy Authority for a joint milk feeding program in Laguna that benefited Los Baños Doctors Hospital, HealthServe Los Baños Medical Center and Saint Jude Hospital in Calamba City. 

RFDFI also participated in a feeding program for depressed communities of the local government of Lipa City in 2020.  Through a continuing partnership with Asian Vision Cable Holdings Inc., RFDFI conducts regular milk donations to frontliners in Subic and the provinces of Quezon and Batangas where AVCHI has its cable television and broadband business. 

   RFDFI also launched a milk feeding program in Barangay Masaya, Bay, Laguna where its farm is located, and the nearby Barangay Puypuy. There is also an ongoing feeding program in Puypuy where RFDFI aims to improve the nutrition of 50 underweight kids aged 3 to 7 years old. It plans to replicate the program in other areas where milk can help improve the nutrition of children. 

The company also wants to encourage people to drink more milk and eat dairy-rich foods. 

For requests for milk donation, write to Mike Hernandez, mike@hollysmilk.co

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